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Cave Spring Advances to State Softball Final-4 With Extra-Inning Thriller

Cave Spring fans and Knights head coach Nick Sharp celebrate as sophomore Pami White rounds the bases after her three-run homer in the sixth inning.
Cave Spring fans and Knights head coach Nick Sharp celebrate as sophomore Pami White rounds the bases after her three-run homer in the sixth inning.

Persistence and resiliency pay dividends. So will some great defense.

With it being a hitter’s day in Tuesday afternoon’s Group AA state quarterfinal at the Cave Spring softball complex, it came down to which team could hang tougher in the field.

In the end, the Lady Knights took advantage of ten Broadway errors to knock off the Gobblers 10-9 in 8 innings, thus punching their ticket to this weekend’s Spring Jubilee at Radford University. Cave Spring will play King George Friday at 2:00 p.m. with the winner advancing to the state final Saturday.

Tuesday’s marathon was a nail-biter to the final out, with Broadway rising from the ashes in both the sixth and seventh innings to overcome seemingly comfortable Cave Spring leads.

In the bottom of the eighth, Cave Spring loaded the bases with one out after singles from Cortney Cooper and Kylie Kent, along with a walk to catcher Pami White.

After a strikeout produced the second out, Lauren Roach slapped a sharp grounder right at Gobbler third baseman
Paige Lam who had started the game in the outfield. The ball ricochetted through Lam’s legs, and when her diving attempt for the forceout at third was clearly late, Cooper raced across the plate for the winner.

The Knights mobbed the field in celebration while Broadway wept with disappointment from one that got away.

The contest had the makings of a pitchers duel after Cave Spring ace Taylor Asimakopoulos and Broadway hurler Mariah Foutz both breezed through the first two scoreless innings.

Broadway finally struck in the third after a hit batsman gave the Gobblers their first baserunner. Leadoff hitter Kierstin Roadcap followed with a blast well over the left-center field fence that put Broadway up 2-0.

Cave Spring got a run in the bottom of the third on a sacrifice fly by Cooper, then seemed poised to put the game away with a five-run fourth that included two singles, a walk, four Broadway fielding errors and a two-run RBI single by White.

Asimakopoulos got out of a bases loaded jam in the fifth, but the Gobblers tied things at six in the top of the sixth on four singles, a walk, a Knight error and a sac fly.

Cave Spring retook the lead in their half of the sixth when White followed singles by Asimakopoulos and Cooper with a 3-run homer to deep left that put the Knights up 9-6.

Down to their last three outs, Broadway had plenty of game left. They opened the inning with three singles. After closing to 9-8 with two outs, a slow roller to the front of the circle was misplayed on the throw to first, allowing the tieing run to score.

“I was a little frustrated when we didn’t get that last out,” Asimakopoulos admitted after the game. “I just kept pitching and didn’t let it bother me. This team has never given up all season.”

The talented Knight pitcher retired the Gobblers in the first extra frame, leading to the final Cave Spring heroics.

“This was a battle,” Cave Spring head coach Nick Sharp noted afterward. “We knew Broadway was a good hitting team. Both teams starting hitting, and we kept digging. We feel we have a very strong defensive infield. They made some big plays.”

“I’m so excited !.” Pami White said of the win and her big homer. “I just wanted us to win.” It was the third round tripper of the season for the scrappy sophomore who handles the tough catching duties for Cave Spring.

As for Asimakopoulos, who went the distance in the circle to improve her record to 21-3, she smiled when asked if she was running out of gas near the end.

“A little bit,” she said with a grin..

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