Lowe too hot for Maroon Tide

-A A +A

The Holston pitcher fanned 19 Galax batters as the Tide opened its 2010 season.

By Craig Worrell, Sports Editor

Galax entered its softball season opener Monday having not faced live pitching in practice a single time. Trying to break the ice against someone like Morgan Lowe just wasn’t fair. Lowe struck out 19 batters and was unhittable unless one’s name happened to be Harley Brewer as Holston took a 10-0 win in a nondistrict game over the Maroon Tide at Mountain View Park. “You’re just not going to hit that kind of heat the first time out,” said Galax coach Verl Brown, whose preseason workouts have been sorely hampered by Mother Nature. “She was throwing hard, but she was throwing strikes, too.” Lowe threw two pitches outside the strike zone in fanning the first five batters she faced, and Brewer was the Maroon Tide’s first hitter to put a ball in play when she laced a sharp grounder through the hole into right with two out in the second. A flame-throwing sophomore right-hander, Lowe whiffed seven more Tide hitters before Brewer stepped back into the box and notched her second base hit, a carbon copy of the first, with one out in the sixth. Channing Russell had preceded Brewer’s second single with a line-out to first, accounting for the only three times a ball was put into play by the Tide. Lowe went to a three-ball count only twice on the day, recording strikeouts on both occasions. Holston, sporting several members off a team that won two games in the Little League World Series last summer, jumped on Galax early with four runs in each of the first two innings. A walk and an error set the table in the top of the first for Lowe, who roped a two-run double into left-center. Brianna Thomas followed with a two-run home run over the fence in left for a quick 4-0 lead. Errors continued to hurt the Maroon Tide in the top of the second. A misplayed fly ball with one out put Megan Honaker on base, and she scored when Faith Ritchie’s base hit squirted past the Tide outfield. Lowe singled to drive in Ritchie and a bobbled ground ball plated Lowe.  Stephanie Fritts looped a single just inside the rightfield line to bring home Thomas for an 8-0 Holston lead. Grace Wilson, making her first varsity start in the circle for Galax, shook off the rough start and tossed four scoreless innings after that. “I thought we settled down and played ball after the first two innings,” said Brown. “Grace made them put the ball in play, and that’s what we want her to do, but the errors killed us in the beginning.” Holston finished with a flurry, tacking on two runs in the top of the seventh. Emily Sullivan singled and scored on Honaker’s base hit, and Lowe lined a single to left for her fourth RBI of the day on three hits. Ritchie and Sullivan added two hits each for the Cavaliers, and Honaker swiped five bases.