Trojans down Devils to take first-place

Bandys defeated Maiden on the softball diamond Thursday in a showdown of two of the top teams in the Catawba Valley Athletic Conference.

Taylor Sigmon was 4-for-4, and Katie Carpenter had two doubles and three RBIs in the Lady Trojans' win.

"It was a very competitive game," said Trojans coach Mike Carpenter. "I was very impressed with Maiden and how they hit the ball. They were sound defensively. Their pitcher moved the ball around well. I was proud of our girls for using the opposite field. We persevered today."

After falling behind 1-0, the Trojans (7-2, 3-0) scored three runs in the top of the third inning.

Lexi Lineberger and Ayla Acosta singled to open the inning and advanced on a fielder's choice. Katie Carpenter drove in both runners on a single to give Bandys the lead for the first time in the game. 

Katie scored on the next at-bat, when Sigmon tripled. Sigmon scored three batters later on a sacrifice by Kelsey Clark, which put the Lady Trojans up 4-1. 

The key to the game for the Blue Devils (4-2, 3-1) was their inability to drive in base runners. Three times in the game, a runner was left stranded in scoring position. 

Lauren Sizemore led off the bottom of the third inning with a double and advanced to third on a ground ball. She remained at third, as Bandys grinded out a defensive stop to end the inning. 

The Lady Trojans added to their lead in the fourth inning. Once again, it was Katie coming up with her second double of the game, as she scored Brittni Pemleton to make it 5-1.

"I knew if I got down in the count, I was going to struggle," Carpenter said. "I just wanted to take the first pitch available for our team to be able to move the bases, whether I got on or not."

One more run came across the plate in the inning, as Katie scored on a passed ball. 

Maiden heightened their sense of urgency and began to start a comeback in the bottom of the fourth.

Mollie Sigmon and Jessica Cooper singled in the first two at-bats of the inning and advanced a base on a fielder's choice. 

Mollie scored on a passed ball, and Cooper advanced to third base. Kala Sigmon drove Cooper in and the lead was down to 6-3 after four innings. 
The Lady Blue Devils got two hits in the first two at-bats of the fifth and sixth innings, but were unable to capitalize. 

That all changed in the seventh inning, when Maiden leadoff hitter Tai-Lynn Lail hit a home run over left field wall, and it was a 6-4 game.

Taylor surrendered another hit on the next at-bat by Mollie Sigmon and Bandys was in danger of losing its lead.

"I was worried about them coming back, but as a pitcher, you have to keep your composure," Taylor said. "The rest of your team depends on you to do that. I told everyone to calm down and we just needed three outs. Defense came through for us."

Her strategy paid off, as she was able to get the next batter, Cooper, to ground into a fielder's choice.

Katie ended the game on the next at-bat, as she grabbed a ground ball between first and second, tagged out the runner advancing and threw the ball to first for the final out.

Katie finished 2-for-4 with two doubles, three RBIs and two runs. Taylor had a triple, three singles and an RBI. Clark was 1-for-4 with an RBI.