ELKIN - After losing two tough games to open the season, the Lady Rams broke through Thursday night against rival Elkin.
Starmount breezed past the previously unbeaten Elks 8-3 in softball rendition of the Battle of the Bridge to find its way into the win column.
“The girls have been working really hard on hitting this week, that’s what we’ve been focusing on. They came through tonight,” Starmount head coach Yancy Moose said. “Big hits are going to win games for us.
“First win of the season - any ‘W’ feels great,” she added.
Coming off a heart-breaking 1-0 loss to Ashe County, Starmount struck early and often to jump ahead of their bitter rivals Thursday.
After Madeline Nixon drew a lead off walk, Rachel Wagoner roped a run-scoring single to the right-center gap to plate the first run of the game.
Syndey Caulde came in to score on a throwing error by the Elks to push the lead out to 2-0 before Mackenzie Hutchens smacked an infield single to short to give Starmount a quick 3-0 advantage.
But a young Elkin side without a senior on the roster responded in the second.
Sara Cudd was hit by the pitch to lead off the frame before Victoria Kiger lined an infield single to third. Cayley Shoemaker plated the first run with a RBI single to center.
Kirstan Beaver followed with a two-RBI double off the left-field wall to tie the game at 3-3.
But Starmount ace Olivia Greene shut the door from there. Greene only allowed two hits over the final five frames to power the Lady Rams.
Offensively, Starmount picked up timely hits to pull away from its rival.
Angel Couch broke the tie in top of the third with a long home run to deep center to put the Rams up for good at 4-3. Christy Reavis followed with a towering two-run shot in the fourth to push the lead out to three runs.
Starmount tacked on two insurance runs on a Jordan Shore RBI single in the fourth and a Couch run-scoring single in the sixth to pull out the 8-3 victory.
“Our bats are coming around. I’m proud of our girls utilizing swinging. We’re swinging now and we have good hitters,” Moose said. “Olivia is doing good out there, she’s staying composed, especially with runners on.”
Shoemaker was a lone bright spot for the Elks, who pitched a complete game in the circle, striking out 15 batters. But it was Elkin’s lack of productivity at the plate that doomed the team.
“We just didn’t hit the ball. We were the better team, just not the better team today,” Elkin coach Steve Shaw explained. “This is probably the most disturbing loss we’ll have this year. I told the girls at the beginning of the season that the team to beat the Elks this season was the Elks, and they did it today.
“We’re going to make some adjustments with our bats,” he continued. “Against Alleghany and Wilkes Central, our bats started off slow, but they started off. And today they just didn’t. We’ll have to go back to the drawing board.”
Elkin continued its slide Friday against East Wilkes in Ronda.
The Elks ran into all-state ace Kennedy Lester, who powered the Cardinals to the 4-0 victory with a five-hit shutout. The junior added 11 strikeouts in the circle and a RBI single at the dish.
Both squads return to the field Tuesday as Starmount travels to rival Forbush, while Elkin hosts Ashe County.
Reach Matthew Gorry at 835-1513 or firstname.lastname@example.org.