Parked next to the fence on the third base side of the Old Round Hill Elementary School softball field is the Loudoun Fire and Ice softball team's RV. And it was a big reason the Sterling-based 14-and-under squad survived a grueling Friday in western Loudoun.
On a day that saw heat indices reaching well into the triple digits, Fire and Ice regrouped and had lunch in the RV after dropping the first game of the day, 3-1, to the Virginia Legends from Yorktown.
After lunch, Fire and Ice won two straight games to stay alive in the PONY National Softball Tournament, capping the day with a 6-3 win over the rival Loudoun Baseliners, also based in Sterling.
In the heat of the day, with parents sitting and sweating in lawn chairs, Fire and Ice defeated the Panthers from Staten Island, N.Y., 8-6, in the first extra inning. Shortstop Tamara Poles drove in Ashley Oblas for the game-winning run. Poles also hit a three-run homer--her first of the season--into the trees behind the left field fence in the fifth inning to tie the score at 6. Center fielder Kristin Frederick added a three-run double.
But the victory meant a short 1 1/2-hour break in the RV before the team would face the Baseliners.
Brandi Vasquez, who moved to the area from Florida in March, relieved starter Lori Potts in the fourth inning with Fire and Ice leading, 4-3. Vasquez didn't allow a hit in her three innings of work in the Baseliners game and allowed only one runner to reach second base.
Vasquez has been the workhorse for the Loudoun team throughout the tournament. She was one out from a perfect game in the first game Fire and Ice played in pool play and pitched in each of the three games today.
"She's the kind of kid that seems to get stronger as the day goes on," Fire and Ice Coach Glen Williams said. "But in this heat you never know when they're going to run out of gas."
Vasquez also led Fire and Ice offensively with two RBI.
A much improved Baseliners team, meanwhile, was eliminated from the tournament. The Baseliners have had trouble solving Fire and Ice all season, dropping all four contests.
"That team has gotten better every time we've played them," Williams said.
With the victories, Fire and Ice earned a rematch with the Virginia Legends yesterday. The finals will be held today.