Not many first-year softball coaches would pack up the gear smiling after a 10-12 season, but Fairfax Coach Bill Hanley had few complaints this spring.
The Rebels, who were 1-14 last year and lost their first seven this season, went 10-5 after their stumbling start. Although starting only two seniors, Fairfax responded under playoff pressure. It reached the Potomac District final, where a freak play helped Chantilly gain a 5-3 victory although the Chargers got only one hit off sophomore losing pitcher Sheila Frece.
"I'm satisfied with everything that happened this year," said Hanley, who was an assistant at West Springfield last year. "We got the girls to the district championship game, and they had not been there before. The only thing that was mildly disappointing was the way it ended."
A mistake by standout junior catcher Adrienne Coleman led to Chantilly's playoff victory. The Chargers were batting with two outs and the bases loaded in the fourth inning when Coleman and Frece each thought they were out of the inning with a called third strike. Coleman rolled the ball toward the mound, but the umpire's call was ball four. One run scored on the base on balls; another scored as the ball lay unattended near the mound.
Without Coleman, however, Fairfax probably would not have been in the final. Batting leadoff, she hit .375, had an on-base percentage of .585 and threw out or picked off 31 runners.
"Sheila constantly improved throughout the year, but she had control problems at times," said Hanley. "That made Adrienne's performance all the more remarkable because she was constantly throwing out runners despite picking up balls in the dirt."
Frece peaked in the tournament, throwing a pair of one-hitters in addition to a 3-1 no-hit win over Jefferson.
At 5 feet 8, Lake Braddock senior Chris Coleman is an exception to the trend of long-legged top long jumpers. But Coleman refuses to allow his size to limit his jumping ability.
Coleman finished third Saturday in the Virginia State AAA championship meet at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. His best effort of 23 feet 8 1/4 inches was topped by Keith Holley of Bayside (24-1 3/4) and Andre Cason of Green Run (23-9 1/4).
Coleman did come away with a first place medal as part of the Bruins' victorious 4x400 meter relay team. Lake Braddock's time of 3:16.71 bested Bethel (3:17.67).
Coleman broke Mike Wilson's Northern Region meet record by almost five inches when he won the long jump two weeks ago with a best of 23 feet 7 3/4 inches. He also won the 100 and 200 meters and helped the Bruins break the 4x400 relay meet record by almost three seconds with a time of 3:17.4.
Coleman, whose best leap as a junior was 22-9, produced a 23-11 jump this year at the Mount Vernon Twilight meet.
"He is very, very fast and a hitch-kick jumper," said Lake Braddock's field events coach, Pete Bendorf. "His potential seems unlimited, but his size may eventually hold him back. Then again, I have seen him dunk a basketball, so it's is hard to tell what Chris is capable of."
Vienna club lacrosse coach John Dodd was named Washington-area high school coach of the year last week by the United States Lacrosse Coaches Association. His team finished 14-1 and defeated DeMatha, 6-2, to win its first Washington Area Lacrosse League championship . . .
Shortstops Debbie Geck of West Potomac and Heather Petrie of Hayfield topped the Gunston District all-district softball team chosen by the coaches. Other selections in the infield were Janice Nedball (West Potomac) and Betsy Tate (Edison). The outfield consisted of Michelle Gussie (West Potomac), Molly Meinert (Mount Vernon) and Stacy Sellers (Edison). Kelly Johnston of Edison was chosen as the pitcher and Kris Fields of Mount Vernon as the catcher.