Sanderson coach Michael Cody said he was most concerned with how his team allowed Knightdale to score its runs Monday after a 17-7 five-inning loss to the visiting Knights..
The Spartans allowed more runners to reach base on balls than hits.
“If we can get our pitchers throwing strikes and make them beat us with the bats, then we should be OK,” Cody said.
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His young Sanderson team started senior Kady Kuehn, who pitched just 15 innings last season.
The Spartans lost last year’s starting pitcher Sara Smothers to graduation.
Half of the Spartans roster is made up of underclassmen, and many players are trying out new positions this season.
Cody said consistency will be key for Sanderson softball as it begins the Cap Eight season.
“We have some solid players,” Cody said. “We field the ball well. We make good throws. We’re just not consistent yet, and I think that will come with time and practice. ... We’ve got a ways to go, but I’m happy. I’m really pleased with where we’re at now, even though it doesn’t look like it on paper and the scorebook doesn’t show it.”
Knightdale sophomore Peyton Pollard allowed no hits in her one inning on the mound for an equally young Knights team.
The finish was a promising sign for the young Knights, who hope their 2012 starting pitcher can bounce back from a shoulder injury.
“We’re working her back up,” said head coach Adam Hamrick. “Hopefully by conference we’ll have her full speed. Getting her back is only going to make us better down the stretch because the other girls are doing a great job filling in until we get back completely healthy.”
Junior Josie Sargent started for the Knights, and Mackenzie Johnson took over after two innings.
Knightdale scored six runs in the first two innings and held off a mid-game Sanderson run to earn its first win of the season.
Hamrick said the boost was a welcome one as the Knights move into Greater Neuse River Conference play.
“A win, especially before you get to conference, is always great for a team, especially in five innings,” he said. “The way we played today, we put 17 runs on the board. It helps the girls’ confidence a lot believing they can do it and that will be a big lift.”
Eight players scored for the Knights.