PALM COAST — A six-run first inning on Friday night powered Flagler Palm Coast past crosstown Matanzas in softball, keeping the Lady Bulldogs' unbeaten streak alive against the Lady Pirates.
The Lady Bulldogs topped the Lady Pirates, 8-0, on a cold, windy night.
FPC (3-3) managed to do all of its damage before even making two outs in the first inning. C.C. Smith scored the first run of the game on an RBI groundout.
The Lady Bulldogs then added two more runs, but then the lights cut out on the field. After about a 20-minute delay, FPC’s bats remained hot.
Katie Bender rocked an opposite-field, two-run triple to give her team a 6-0 lead and all the runs they would need to top Matanzas.
Anna Hardy tossed seven scoreless innings for the Lady Bulldogs, surrendering just three hits and two walks while striking out six. Hardy has 35 strikeouts and a 1.295 ERA in 48 innings pitched so far this season (including preseason games).
Three transfers helping Lady Pirates
The Lady Pirates haven’t played that many games considering how far into the season it is. In fact, following Friday’s game against FPC, they have only played six games in more than a month. That’s because of rain and other cancellations.
But, at 3-3, coach Sara Novak says her team likely wouldn’t be where it is if not for three players who transferred in to join the softball team: Brooklynn Jimeson, Savannah Drummonds and Olivia Jaques.
All three moved in from other states, and they have filled big-time holes on the Lady Pirates’ roster that were left by graduating seniors from last season.
“That really would have hurt us if they didn’t move in,” Novak said. “Losing seven seniors is hard for any coach, but losing seven seniors who have been starters on your team for the last four years in positions such as pitcher, catcher and first base is even harder.”
Jimeson, who moved in from Texas, has been the starting pitcher for all six of Matanzas’ games this season. She can also play on the left side of the infield, Novak said.
“With good calls or bad calls, she does not get rattled,” Novak said of Jimeson. “She just digs down and keeps on going to the best that she can for her team. I believe this quality is very hard to find sometimes.”
Drummonds is Jimeson’s battery mate, taking over the catching duties. Drummonds moved back to Palm Coast this season after moving away to North Carolina.
She moved to North Carolina when she was in seventh grade, in 2009, when Novak had Drummonds’ older sister, Shelby, as a senior on the Lady Pirates softball team.
“She is extremely important behind the plate and at the plate,” Novak said. “Her base running is very aggressive, so once she is on, she is looking to take another base and score.”
Jaques moved in last year from New York, but she was unable to play the whole season because she had a shoulder injury from pitching on her travel ball team.
Now healthy, Jaques has taken over the responsibilities at first base. She will also get some pitching in this season Novak said.
“Her glove is getting better and better every day, and she is always looking to work hard and improve,” Novak said.
Novak said before the season — and continues to say six games into the 2014 campaign — that she sees this season as a building year.
“The good news is I have a feeling with this team that they want to learn and they want to make adjustments to get better and be successful,” Novak said.