The Green Hope softball team opened Southwest Wake Athletic Conference play with a thorough 5-1 road win over Cary Wednesday night.
Maddison Clifford ripped a two-run single, Natsumi Koyama provided stellar defense, and Ali Then gave a gritty effort pitching as Green Hope improved to 4-0 overall, 1-0 conference.
Cary had some hits and made solid contact throughout but could only a plate a single run in falling to 1-3, 0-1.
Koyama flashed her leather in the first frame with a terrific diving grab of a hard-hit liner off the bat of Erica Hayes, then later added an RBI single.
The only blemish was Priscilla Sanchez’s run-scoring triple in the fourth for Cary.
“Ali’s become quite a leader for us,” said Green Hope coach Morgan Caddell. “I have a great deal of confidence in her.”
“From the fourth to the seventh inning it was a very good game,” said Cary coach Michael Charlton. “We just have to reverse things from the early innings when things got away from us.”
For Green Hope pitcher Then, making sure she uses all of the plate for her pitches. She left some juicy offerings that better offenses may take advantage of.
“I like to stay focused when I’m on the mound,” Then said. “It helps me to succeed.”
The Imps stranded two runners in the first inning, left Sanchez at third in the fourth frame and failed to score with the bases loaded in the sixth.
Cary will need to get its bats going in the clutch to get into the win column consistently.