Bayside had the bases loaded and the heart of its order up, hoping to close a 5-2 gap in the top of the sixth inning Monday against Kempsville.
Pitcher Shannon Buchanan looked as rattled as she had been all afternoon for the Chiefs, but Kempsville coach Matt Brinton had seen his girls dig themselves out of these situations before. His senior hurler showed once again that she owns pressure moments like this.
Buchanan forced Kaytlyn Caldwell to hit a grounder to the mound, fielded it and rifled the ball to home for the force out, and catcher Kaylah Duplain threw to first base to complete the double play and escape the jam.
Kempsville went on to win 6-2, earning another quality triumph over a Coastal Conference rival.
“Just felt like we persevered,” Brinton said after the win. “Shannon worked hard out there, she maintained for the most part, and it’s the defense that stepped up behind her.”
The Chiefs’ (7-2) defense turned another crucial double play in the top of the seventh when Bayside was rallying with runners on first and second with no outs. Kempsville right fielder Haley Murray covered a lot of ground racing to a fly ball, made a difficult catch look easy and doubled up the runner at second.
Buchanan tossed the complete game, allowing two runs on four hits and four walks while striking out six batters in seven innings. She had the luxury of playing with breathing room early after the Chiefs’ bats raced out to a 5-0 lead by the third inning.
Kempsville scored one run in the first inning off a Duplain sacrifice hit that brought home center fielder Mikayla Wessel. In the second inning, the Chiefs brought eight batters to the plate and converted with runners in scoring position, adding four runs on five hits. Wessell, Allison Muluhill, Jessica Pittman, Samantha Pittman and Kayleigh Wielechowski each registered RBIs in the inning.
After the Chiefs escaped the top of the sixth when the Marlins brought the go-ahead runner to the plate, Wessell lined an RBI triple to right field and scored Jessica Pittman for an insurance run to put Kempsville ahead 6-2.
“Even when we got the five runs, I said the game is not over with, we got to play,” Brinton said. “It was nice to get that (sixth) run. You need runs like that, it makes you feel a bit better because then (on defense) you can just work on outs and not worry about a base runner.”
Kempsville finished with 12 hits, five of which went for extra bases, and left just four runners on base in six innings. Wessell hit 3-for-4 with two triples and two RBIs, while Jessican Pittman went 2-for-3 with two runs.
Bayside’s (3-2) normal starting pitcher McKenna Blythe replaced Monday’s starter Sara Phillips (five runs, seven hits in three innings) in the fourth and allowed just one run on five hits with six strikeouts in the final three innings.
Caldwell brought home both Marlins runs with a two-run single in the fourth inning, while shortstop Laura Bussiere had two hits and one run. Bayside left nine runners on base in seven innings.
Kempsville has already beaten three of the Coastal Conference’s top teams (First Colonial, Kellam, Bayside) early this season.
“After we lost (Thursday to Western Branch), they needed that,” Brinton said. “To come out here and beat a good team like Bayside, it gives us confidence, puts us back on track.”
Kempsville plays Wednesday at Cox, while Bayside travels to Nansemond River.