By David Kapitan
The Van Lady Vandal softball team did what it’s done to opponents all season long against on April 15, pounding Brownsboro into submission behind an extra-hit barrage, 11-2.
Van came out swinging from the opening innings, plating two runs in both the first and second innings for an early 4-0 lead.
With Nicole Gandy leading the way on the mound, the Bearettes failed to mount any serious challenge to the Lady Vandal advantage.
Van delivered the finishing blow in the fourth inning, scoring five times to take a commanding 9-0 lead.
Brownsboro mounted its lone threat in the top of the fifth, scoring two runs but never drawing closer.
Van capped the game with two more runs in the bottom of the sixth, closing out the 11-2 win.
Nicole Gandy delivered a superb performance on the mound, striking out five in seven innings of work. Gandy helped her own cause at the plate, hammering a home run to drive in 3 RBI.
Sierra Nichols also contributed a home run, driving in 2 RBI.
Autumn McKinney finished 3 for 3 at the plate with a double, and Hallee Carter went 2 for 3 with two doubles and 2 RBI.
The Lady Vandals finished regular season play in a non-district game against Malakoff on April 18. Van picked up a 12-1 victory, getting five solid innings on the mound from Autumn McKinney.
Ashlin Lovett led the offensive charge at the plate, going 3 for 3 with 2 RBI. Hallee Carter, Haleigh Moore and Sierra Nichols each went 2 for 3 at the plate, with Nichols providing 3 RBI.
The Lady Vandals, now 20-4-1 on the season, including 10-0 in district play, will begin their playoff run on April 24 and 26 in a best-of-three series against Gilmer at Bullard Brook Hill.
The April 24 game will begin at 7 p.m. Game 2 of the series, scheduled for April 26, will be begin at 3 p.m. Game 3, if necessary, will begin 30 minutes after the conclusion of game 2.
The Van Lady Vandal JV squad did just enough on April 15 to record a come-from-behind 10-9 win over the Brownsboro Bearettes.
Van jumped all over the Brownsboro pitching staff in the first inning, rallying from a 1-0 hole with five runs.
The Bearette offense chipped away at the Van lead over the next two innings, scoring one run in the second and two in the third to pull to within 5-4.
Brownsboro added five runs in the top of the fourth, seemingly putting the game out of reach with a 9-4 lead.
Van wouldn’t be denied, scoring five more runs of their own to take the 10-9 win. Allison Nelson, Ashley Gregory, Cheyenne Fugate and Carlie Jarman each helped the Van effort, providing two hits each.
Nelson, Gregory and Fugate each added an RBI, while Jarman drove in three Lady Vandals.
M’Kenna Daniel also provided a spark for the Van offense, going 1 for 2 with 2 RBI.