The James River softball team continued to roll last week. The Knights knocked Auburn from the ranks of the unbeaten, then hammered Three Rivers District member Giles into a submission in five innings.

River outlasted Auburn last Wednesday in Riner, 2-0, in handing the Eagles their first defeat of the season. This classic pitcher’s duel between Auburn’s Skyler DeHart and River’s Olivia Simmons went four innings before either team got a hit.

In the top of the fifth inning on an extremely hot, sunny spring day, DeHart walked Sydney Gordon with one out. DeHart then hit Evie Melvin and Brenna Eubank to load the bases before Cameron Hildebrand battled through an eight pitch at bat to score Gordon with a single to left field.

The Knights got an important insurance run in the sixth inning.  With one out, Erin Peery walked and Josey Lackey then singled. With two outs, Evie Melvin lined an 0-2 pitch to center field for a single to narrowly score Peery.

James River worked out of a one out double to Abby Wilson in the bottom of the sixth inning, Auburn’s first hit. The Eagles also got out of a one out, bases loaded jam in the top of the seventh.

In the bottom of the final frame Lacey Bishop and Olivia Boyd had consecutive singles to begin the inning, bringing the winning run to the plate. Simmons recorded a strikeout, got a diving catch of a foul ball by Gordon, and a strikeout of lead off hitter McKenzie Lawrence to end the game.

Simmons finished with 12 strikeouts and three walks with the three hit shutout. DeHart allowed only three hits in six inning of work. She had eight strikeouts with two walks and four hit batters. Leah Harrison pitched the seventh inning for the Eagles.

“I am extremely proud of our team,” said River coach Steve Austin. “This was a gutsy road win against a very good squad who was undefeated at the time. We got great pitching and we made four ‘star’ plays on defense.”

On Friday the Knights upped their record to 12-1 with a 17-1 win at Giles. Olivia Simmons had three hits and two RBIs and Evie Melvin had two hits and three RBIs to lead the Knights. Hollie Hill and Lakota Lucado also had two hits each.

Simmons was the winning pitcher throwing four innings allowing no runs, one hit, and no walks. She struck out eight. Kaitlin Simmons pitched the fifth giving up one run on two hits while striking out one.

Wendy Marshall had a hit and the lone RBI for Giles.

“Giles was the final game of seven straight away games for us and I couldn’t be prouder of how we handled the schedule challenge,” said Austin. “Our last home game was on April 4, I think, so it’s been a while. To be honest with you, I am concerned about how we will play at home after being in a good travel routine for so long.”

The Knights were scheduled to host Glenvar on Tuesday, and Friday they’re at Radford.