Heather Todd's sadness turned to shock shortly after the Loudoun Valley High School softball team lost to Rustburg in the Group AA semifinals June 4. Her high school career had just ended in a 1-0 loss, and before she had time to wipe away the tears, she found herself talking to Amy Hayes, an assistant coach from Virginia Tech.

Hayes had some good news: Virginia Tech was looking for a second baseman, and she wanted to know if Todd was interested in playing for the Hokies, a team that posted a 54-16 record and advanced to the finals of the Atlantic 10 tournament. Todd didn't hesitate to jump at the opportunity.

"It was a really big shock. We lost the game, and I was thinking, `This stinks,' " said Todd, an honorable mention All-Met infielder. "Talking to [Hayes] definitely helped me feel better. . . . I always wanted to play Division I softball, but I never thought I'd have the chance. I never thought I'd get into Tech. I'm shocked; it seems so weird."

It was only two weeks ago that Todd was telling her friends she was going to play for Coker College, a South Carolina school that has an excellent Division II program. Now she is going to an up-and-coming Division I program. Todd is guaranteed a spot on the team, and although she is not receiving any scholarship money now, she will have the opportunity to earn a scholarship.

Todd already is thinking ahead to the fall, when she'll have to wake up at 6 a.m. for workouts and then practice again in the afternoon. She's also thinking about her good fortune.

"The coach said that she doesn't usually go to the state tournament games. I guess I was in the right place at the right time," Todd said. "I made one defensive play [against Rustburg] that she said was one of the best plays of the game. I should probably call the girl who hit the ball and thank her."

Two Excel in Swimming Meet

Two Loudoun County residents performed well at the USA Swimming Disability Championships in Minneapolis, held June 11 to 13. J.T. Fetter, 15, a blind swimmer who trains with the Ashburn Village Swim Team, competed in six events and won the 400 meter freestyle and 200 meter freestyle in his classification.

Ashburn resident Chase Baker, 26, also competed in six events, finishing second in the 200 meter individual medley, 100 meter breaststroke and 200 meter freestyle.

Baker, whose right leg was amputated below the knee after a car accident when he was in high school, recently qualified for the USA Triathlon World Championships, which will be held in Montreal on Sept. 12. Baker won the physically challenged division of the USAT world championship qualifier outside Orlando on June 5.

CAPTION: After losing in Group AA softball semifinals June 4, Heather Todd got some good news from Virginia Tech assistant coach, who asked the Vikings senior to play there next season.