Game Summaries & Headlines.
The Forge Eagles opened their regular season schedule on the road @ Hylton on Tuesday night. Temperatures were slightly over the freezing mark at game time but the Forge was ready to play. Chomping at the bit their intensity dwindled a bit when the umpires declared that the game would start 30 minutes late of the scheduled start time. Seems their hosts the Hylton Bulldogs were waiting for a couple of players who were involved in some chorus concert inside the Bulldogs auditorium. Bringing new meaning to the term, “the game isn’t over till the lady sings”!
The visitors were a little miffed but the intensity came back quickly during the Eagles first trips to the plate. The GREEN wasted no time getting on the board in the first when Chesney “White Shoes” Benson led off with sharp single to right. One batter later Kyleigh Tierney ripped the first offering from Bulldog starter Kiaya Jeusi off the right center field fence for a double that scored Benson with the game’s first run. Mya “Bam-Bam” Tino later singled to left that brought Tierney to the plate for the Eagle 2-0 lead. After a Bulldog error, Brooke Thompson drove Tino home and the “good gals” had a quick 3-0 lead with the Bulldogs coming up.
Junior pitcher McKayla Swan was handed the ball in the circle in place of the injured Kayla Stephenson who complained of a sore right shoulder during warm up. Hylton sent a half dozen players to the plate in the home half of the first, were assisted by 3 Forge errors but could only score one run to cut the deficit to 3-1 after the first inning.
The Forge’s next at bat, Megan Schaefer led off with a walk and Benson singled up the middle putting Talons on the corners with nobody out. A Hylton error and a single up the middle by Elyssa Cartagena sent two more Eagles across home plate for a 5-1 lead headed to the home half of the second.
This is where the Forge defense let them down a bit. Swan got two quick outs on ground balls to start the inning but then gave up six runs on four Bulldog hits and two Forge errors and it gave Hylton a quick 7-5 lead after two.
The Eagles went 1-2-3 in their half of the third but the Bulldogs showed they weren’t done running the bases and scoring runs in the home half of the frame. Hylton Sophomore Grace Lutz led off with a double in the left field corner, Vanessa Arroyo hit the same corner with a hit to drive in Lutz. Jeusi helped her own cause with a single to right and just like that the home team had a 10-5 advantage. Corrine Knapp was the next batter and Swan got her to hit into a double play that charged up the Eagles bench and their frozen fans in the stands. Knapp hit a ground ball to Tino who went to first for one, and Cartagena went across the diamond to Rebecca Iseminger for the twin killing.
As exciting as that play was, the next three Bulldogs (Lutz, Kendall Gobbin and Tatianna Hall) all singled and Hylton extended their lead to 12-5 after three full innings.
In the Forge fourth the ladies told the crowd that they weren’t done either scoring 5 runs on 4 hits and took advantage of three more Bulldog errors and they cut the Bulldog lead to 12-10.
The home half of the fourth the Eagles were only down two but six Swan pitches later they were down 14-10 as Lexie LaPointe led off with a double to center field and Lutz had a count of 2 balls and a strike and then launched one deep into the centerfield night for a two run dinger.
Arroyo reached on an error and she scored on a single by Knapp for a 15-10 Hylton lead. Swan walked the next three batters and they all scored as the Eagle defense fell off the rails in the fourth. When the dust settled and a fly ball was hauled in by Taylor Casey in center, the Eagles were coming up trailing 19-10 heading to the fifth.
The Eagles would score two quick ones in the top of the fifth, highlighted by three consecutive doubles (Tierney, Cartagena and Tino) cutting the deficit to 19-12.
Hylton led off their half of the inning with consecutive singles but could only push one run across for a 20-12 lead. It was getting colder, later and the Forge was getting to ready to show that they still had life heading to the sixth inning.
Back to back infield groundouts to start the inning was not what the Eagles were looking for, but they would respond. Casey singled to left field and Tierney tripled her home. Cartagena then took the first offering from Jeusi and drove it halfway to Potomac Mills. A majestic no doubter that should have been tracked by NASA as it headed for the darkness of the Prince William County night.
Tino followed and reached on an error by the shortstop and the drive was still alive. Isabella Wylie singled to center to drive in Tino to make it 20-16 but that is when Jeusi shut the door and gave her team a home win, and handed the Eagles their first loss on the campaign.
It wasn't a thing of beauty, it wasn’t a perfect night for ANYTHING never mind softball. In the end the Eagles showed a lot of grit and resiliency that hasn’t really been their forte in recent seasons. The 2018 edition of Forge Softball is a veteran group that is fun to watch and from what they’ve shown so far in the pre season and now the opener...they can hit the ball. They just need to straighten out the defense and the offense will be even more impressive.
The Forge now heads home to face Fauquier on Friday afternoon at 4:30pm.