The setting was familiar, and unfortunately for the Loudoun Valley softball team, so was the result.
Rustburg defeated Loudoun Valley, 1-0, in a Virginia AA semifinal tonight at Moyer Sports Complex to advance to the state championship. The game was a rematch of the 1997 state final, which the Devils also won, 2-0, in 10 innings. Both pitchers from that game -- Loudoun Valley senior Jennifer Potts and Rustburg junior Lyndsey Torrence -- pitched tonight. Loudoun Valley (18-5) managed five hits, but were unable to string any of them together. Torrence struck out 10.
"The bottom line is we didn't hit the ball tonight. I don't know what else to say," Potts said. "In '97 we didn't hit the ball, and here we didn't hit the ball."
In the first semifinal today, defending AA champion Orange (25-1) easily beat Virginia High School of Bristol, 19-4. Orange's only loss this season was to Chantilly in a tournament in Richmond in late March.
Rustburg, located near Lynchburg, has tormented Loudoun County softball teams throughout the '90's -- the Devils have won three state titles since 1990, and each time they have beaten a Loudoun County school in the process. In 1993, Rustburg defeated Loudoun County, 2-0, and in 1994, it beat Broad Run, 6-0.
In 1997, the Devils beat Loudoun Valley, 2-0, in 10 innings in Purcellville. Potts pitched a complete game in the defeat for the Vikings. Tonight, she gave up seven hits and struck out four.
Potts threw back-to-back no-hitters in the regional quarterfinal and semifinals, and entering tonight's game, had allowed a total of seven hits and five runs since the start of regionals.
The left-hander struck out four of the first nine batters she faced, but with two outs in the third inning, gave up three consecutive singles. Rustburg's Whitney DeJarnette slapped an infield hit, and advanced to third when Lindsay Shelton hit the ball just over a leaping Erynn Lepley at first base.
The next batter, Amy Gilliam, singled to left field to score DeJarnette, but Loudoun Valley left fielder Crystal Owings threw out Shelton at the plate to end the inning. Loudoun Valley had five hits in the first five innings, but failed to advance a runner past second base.
"They've got a real good pitcher, and she did the job tonight," Loudoun Valley Coach Joe Spicer said.
Loudoun Valley (18-5) 000 000 0 -- 0 5 1 Rustburg (24-2) 001 000 x -- 1 7 0