GLEN ALLEN, Va. — For the potent Stone Bridge softball lineup, runs can come in bunches.
Junior Jordan Thompson likened it to a chain reaction. Coach Billy Rice called it an explosion.
However it’s termed, the results can be dangerous for opposing teams.
On Friday afternoon in the Class 5 state final against Mountain View, the Bulldogs ignited again. They put together a seven-run fifth inning that propelled them to a 13-2 victory at RF & P Park , clinching the school’s first state softball title.
“Like, we’ve worked so hard all year,” pitcher Emily Sappington said. “It really feels good.”
The Bulldogs (25-1) cleared all hurdles this year after bowing out in the region tournament last year — a season in which Rice thought they underachieved.
Thompson said last season served as a valuable lesson.
“It told us you can’t underestimate every single team,” Thompson said. “Even if we’re good or just as good or better, we have to keep hitting, keep fielding. We can’t let up anything or else they’ll take it from you.”
The Bulldogs didn’t let up in a decisive fifth inning. Taylor Coon and Lauren Fox led off the inning with walks. Elena Gonzalez then singled and Coon scored on the throw. Olivia Valbak, Sappington and Olivia Smith added consecutive RBI singles. Later, Thompson had the exclamation point — a two-run home run to left field to make it 8-0.
“I was really going into that one saying, ‘Okay, we got a good thing going right now, I need to keep it going,’ ” Thompson said.
Stone Bridge brought much of last year’s team back, and its depth and cohesion proved vital.
One of the major pieces was Sappington. On Friday, she threw 5 ⅓ innings, working out of some early trouble before settling into a groove. Mountain View (19-3) was scoreless until the sixth, when it scored one run on a throwing error and another on a passed ball.
Valbak finished the game in the circle, setting down Mountain in order in the seventh inning.
“They’re a great group, and they definitely deserve it,” Rice said of his players.