Cadets sweep: Fort Frye softball tops Frontier, 7-4

NEW MATAMORAS – Fort Frye and Frontier combined to go to the plate some 71 times in Thursday night’s Pioneer Valley Conference contest.

Ironically one girl who never got a single at bat came up with the play of the game as the Lady Cadets held off the Lady Cougars for a 7-4 victory.

With the Fort leading by three runs in the last of the sixth inning, center fielder Mikaela Dyar made an outstanding catch to rob Taylor Rinard of extra bases and strand a pair of Lady Cougars on base.

Dyar was limited to playing in the field only due to a leg injury suffered before the game.

“That very well might have been a game-saving catch right there,” said Fort Frye head coach Barb Sleek of Dyar’s play, “It was great to see her come through for us.”

Early on the game had all the makings of a Fort Frye blowout as the Cadets batted around in the opening inning off of Cougar starting pitcher Sammi Morris to take a 4-0 lead.

Chelsey Snodgrass, Courtney Allen and Hali LeMasters led off the game with consecutive singles for the Cadets and after clean-up hitter Tanner Booth drew a walk, Natalie Smith double down the left field line to plate a pair of runs.

Frontier cut the lead in half in the last of the third when Cala Curtis led off with a single and two outs later freshman catcher Lexi Brookover tripled to deep right-center field for the first Lady Cougar run of the game.

Morris followed with a double of her own to score Brookover and trim the lead to 4-2.

Fort Frye got one of those runs back in the fourth inning before scoring a pair in the fifth to increase their lead to 7-2.

LeMasters RBI single plated the fourth inning run and a double steal pulled off by Lexi Skinner and Sarah Wagner and a run scoring single by Allen accounted for the fifth inning Fort Frye runs.

Cadet starting pitcher Jada Baker was cruising along heading to the last of the fifth but the Cougars bats came to life once more when they collected three more hits to score twice and trim the lead to 7-4.

Curtis, batting in the number nine spot in the Frontier lineup, led off the inning once again with a single, advanced to third on a double by Rinard and both runners scored when Brookover doubled to the fence in center field.

“Our girls didn’t lay down and they fought right back,” said Russ Morris, in his second tour of duty as Frontier head coach. “Fort Frye has a really nice team but I was really proud of our kids for fighting back.”

After the lone error committed in the game by the Cadets brought the tying run to the plate in the fifth, Baker recovered to retire the final two Cougar hitters of the inning to limit the damage.

After Morris retired the Cadets in order in the top of the sixth, the Cougars threatened once again in the bottom half when Becca Bowercock and Nikki Haught reached base on walks, bringing Rinard to the plate with the perfect hitting Brookover representing the go-ahead run in the on-deck circle.

The left handed hitting Rinard drilled a shot into deep right center field but Dyar got a good jump on the ball and made a nice leaping catch to spoil the Cougars hopes of a sixth inning rally.

Brookover notched her fourth hit of the game to open the seventh and one out later Emily Hinton singled, but Baker retired the final two Cougar hitters to even the Cadet season mark at 3-3.

“We are certainly in a rebuilding mode but I don’t think the cupboard is bare,” said Sleek. “We’ll continue to get better and keep working and they are a great group to work with.”

The Cougars (2-4) fielded a team made up of six freshman and two sophomores and their head coach was quite proud of their effort.

“I really think we can grow in the right direction if we keep working and keep believing in ourselves,” said Morris, whose team will host River tonight. “We’re competing with teams and I think we have a chance to be really good.”

Fort Frye will have the weekend off before returning home to host none other than the Lady Cougars Monday evening.