Ashley Barber-Strunk took on the head position at top-ranked Sherwood with added pressure from the Warriors’ decorated history. The program was coming off two state titles and two perfect seasons under the previous coach of 17 years. Spending the first month practicing indoors didn’t make it easier for the first-time coach. When the Warriors finally got outside, they handled a crammed game schedule with ease, outscoring opponents 203-9 in the regular season en route to a third consecutive state title.
“They work hard year round, and they had the talent and the experience,” Barber-Strunk said. “It feels good knowing they stayed on top and the hard work paid off.”
Pitcher Meggie Dejter, a first team All-Met last season and this year’s Player of the Year, finished her senior season with 149 strikeouts and a 1.06 ERA (0.47 through the regular season). Junior Nicole Stockinger, another two-time first team selection, hit .678 with 49 RBI and 35 runs. Second team All-Met Kelly Bouma hit .545 with 25 RBI, and second baseman Julie Swarr added 27 runs, 17 RBI and two home runs with a batting average of .481 and a fielding percentage of .966.
The win streak — now at 62 — stayed intact throughout close rivalry games with Blair and Blake.
“I didn’t think about it after a certain game,” Barber-Strunk said. “People would come up to me and ask ‘What game is this now in the streak?’ and I’d say ‘I have no idea.’ Our goal is to take one game at a time. You can’t overlook any team.”
“They kept it going, now it’s up to everyone else,” Barber-Strunk said. “Those seniors got to go out with what they created sophomore year, now it’s up to the rest of the class to continue it.”
Sherwood was the wire-to-wire top team through a state championship season. . . . South County (Virginia 6A) and Woodgrove (Virginia 4A) both won state titles in Virginia’s realigned state classifications. . . . Northern had its 77-game winning streak snapped but won an unprecedented seventh straight title. . . .St. Mary’s Ryken ended O’Connell’s 10-year stranglehold of the WCAC with a 5-2 win in the conference final. . . . Lake Braddock’s Ashley Flesch won the Virginia Gatorade player of the year for the 6A North runner-up Bruins.
1. Sherwood (20-0) LW: 1
2. South County (26-3) LW: 2
3. Northern (23-2) LW: 4
4. St. Mary’s Ryken (24-2) LW: 5
5. Lake Braddock (24-3) LW: 3
6. Woodgrove (25-2) LW: NR
7. O’Connell (19-5) LW: NR
8. Paul VI (24-5) LW: 8
9. McLean (21-2) LW: 9
10. Chesapeake (16-7) LW: NR