Knights Softball Slays the Sickles Gryphons

With many strikeouts and 2 homeruns on their side, the Knights defeated the Gryphons 6-2.

Zoe Thaxton, Online Managing Editor

The Knights faced off against the Sickles Gryphons on Friday, March 4 at 7 p.m. It was the team’s home opener after already playing three away games. In that time, they earned a 1-2 record, losing 2-4 against Durant on Feb. 22 and 3-9 against Plant on Feb. 24; and winning 6-3 against Steinbrenner Feb. 28.

Sickles’ record was 1-1. It’s still quite earlier in the season, but both teams faced up as statically good matches. (ex: Robinson’s team bating average was 0.247 and Sickles was 0.245.)

Kohana Pousson (’23) started in the circle for the Knights and remained there for the entirety of the game. Pitchers’ performance are vital to the outcome of a game and with a 4.77 ERA and 17 strikeouts before the game, Pousson wouldn’t let down.

Pousson winds up her pitch. Playing all seven innings, she struck out 12 batters and only allowed 2 runs to score. “My goal has always been to get 1 [strikeout] per inning since the beginning of the season. To see that I can exceed beyond that gives me more confidence in the circle.” Pousson said. (Photo Zoe Thaxton)

“I try to stay focused [on the mound] while giving off a “I can do anything I put my mind to” attitude. However, I try not to think too much… I just try to take it pitch by pitch,” Pousson explained.

The Knights did struggle a bit right out of the gate. In the top of the first, the first Sickles batter was walked. The next two popped out to Sydney Hall (’22) in center field and Haley Magin (’22) in right field. Sickles pitcher Robyn Herron (’22) smacked the ball out of the park, earning Sickles two points. Pousson quickly ended the inning after that with a strikeout.

The Knights earned their own homerun in the bottom of the first. With no luck of baserunners from the first two batters in the lineup, Lindsey Chadwick (’22) came up to the plate. She smoked one up and over the center field fence.

“The last time we played Sickles, I hit a homerun off of [Hurron]” Chadwick said. “This time, I wasn’t expecting to hit one, but when I got up to bat, I could feel it.”

At the end of the first, the score was 2-1.

The top of the second was a great inning for Pousson. She faced four batters, striking out the first, walking the second and striking out the next two.

The Knights start the bottom with Candace Ripine (’22) walking with a 3-2 count. Hall tried to lay down a bunt during their at-bat, a move to try to advance the baserunner, but it was caught by the 1st Baseman. Cassidy Lund (’22) hit a line drive out to right field on her first pitch, earning a double, advancing Ripine to 3rd. Then, with two outs, Magin hit a ground ball to short stop, but the Sickles player had a hard time controlling the ball, losing time to get her out at 1st. Even still, the 1st baseman dropped the ball when it was thrown. This kept Magin safe at 1st, Lund to advance to 3rd and Ripine to score. The inning end with Riley Onisawa, the top of the lineup, popping out to right field.

To start the top of the third, the score was tied, 2-2.

For the Knights, their best performance was during the fourth inning. In the top of the inning, Pousson pitched three-up-three-down. She did the same in the fifth, meaning six strikeouts total from six batters.

Ripine started the bottom of the fourth with a line drive into the pitcher’s glove. Hall walked with a 3-2 count with a passed ball. Lund hit a ground ball to the Sickles’ shortstop, who tried turning the double play… but remained unsuccessful, only getting Lund out at first. During JC Thaxton’s (’23) at-bat, Hall stole third and Thaxton eventually walked. Morgan Mason (’24) smacked a ground ball up the middle, allowing Hall to score and Araya Sterns (’24), who was brought in the run for Thaxton, to make it to third.

Onisawa came back up for her third at bat of the night and didn’t disappoint. She hits a homerun, bringing everyone on base, home.

Magin bunted, and being quite quick, made it to first. The ball was overthrown and Magin turned a single bunt into a double. Chadwick returned to the plate only to be immediately send to 1st for a intentional walk. This rally unfortunately ended with a strikeout. The Knights earned 4 runs during the inning, allowing them to take the lead.

The score was 6-2.

The game remained at that score for the rest of the innings played. There were a few highlights:  Sickles brought in DaNia Brooks (’23) at the top of the fifth to pitch; Hall had an amazing defensive play during the top of the sixth where a Sickles player smoked a bomb out to center field, almost to the fence where it seemed uncatchable. Hall did the “unthinkable” and caught it; the sprinklers went off at the bottom of the sixth when Sickles was in the field.

The team didn’t get another at bat after the bottom of the sixth as they clinched the win from being ahead at the top of the seventh. Pousson got her last strikeout of the night and Lund ended the game when a foul ball popped up near 1st base.

The Knights play again at home against Riverview Sharks March 10 at 7 p.m. They hope to continue their win streak and continue “the energy and communication [from this game]” Thaxton said, into their season.