Loudoun Valley 3,
Dan River 0
The moment All-Met second baseman Jessica Everhart released the ball toward first baseman Natacia Lance for what would be the final out of the Virginia AA softball championship game, she turned and raced toward her sister, All-Met shortstop Jennifer Everhart, screaming all the way into her twin's outstretched arms. The hugs and tears and sheer jubilation that followed as the rest of their teammates rushed to join the celebration capped a nearly perfect season for Loudoun Valley -- and came after a game played in similar, near-perfect fashion.
A single by Dan River leadoff batter Gwen Turner in the top of the seventh inning was the only glitch in an otherwise perfect game for junior pitcher Cassie McGaha in the Vikings' 3-0 victory, which gave them a 27-1 record and their 20th shutout of the season. Turner was thrown out trying to steal, so McGaha faced the minimum 21 batters.
"It's one of those situations where if we had finished 26-2, we'd have felt like we hadn't done our job," Loudoun Valley Coach Joe Spicer said. "We really needed to win it all to justify the talent level we have."
The win gave the Vikings their second state softball championship in three seasons and marks the first time in school history that two Loudoun Valley teams have claimed state championships in the same school year. The Vikings' volleyball team went undefeated this fall en route to its Virginia AA title.
"This is just the best feeling in the world," said Jennifer Everhart, the only player who started on both title-winning teams this year. "It's everything we worked for."
Jennifer Everhart led off for Loudoun Valley with a triple to center field, and scored on a single by senior center fielder Alyson Moler. Loudoun Valley added runs in the fourth and fifth innings on an RBI single by senior left fielder Amy Edmondson and an RBI double by junior catcher Malorie Weller.
Meantime, 13 Wildcats went down on groundouts, two flied out and McGaha struck out five. Turner, Dan River's only base runner, reached on a single to left field but was promptly thrown out by Weller as she attempted to steal second.
"I was so mad when she got that hit because I had been keeping track, and I knew Cassie had a perfect game going," Weller said. "And she ruined it, but we got her back."
Dan River junior pitcher Casey Pyron posted twice as many strikeouts as her counterpart, fanning 10 Viking batters, and issued no walks, but yielded seven hits.
"We did what we normally do, which is put the ball in play and see what happens," said Dan River Coach Ryan Scolpini, whose team finished 24-4. "But that team right there is about as good of a team as you'll ever see. Offensively, defensively, pitching -- they've got it all. Obviously they're the best team in the state, but they're also by far the best team we've seen this year. There's no shame in losing to a team like that."