The Washington Post

For Briar Woods, setbacks set the stage for championship


The Briar Woods softball team had an usually difficult weekend, up until it took the field against Woodgrove and won a state championship. (Tracy A. Woodward/The Washington Post)

Almost nothing was going right this weekend for the Briar Woods softball team.

Items were stolen from the Falcons’ locker room on Thursday before they departed for Radford. Once on the road, the bus broke down. On Friday, umpires were 45 minutes late for the Falcons’ first game.

For Briar Woods, though, the seemingly bad karma was actually good luck. All season the team had played by one motto: “A minor setback for a major comeback.”

So when a one-hour rain delay postponed the start of Saturday’s Virginia AA state championship, Briar Woods Coach Jenn Traina took it as a good omen.

“I think the softball gods are trying to give us a sign,” Traina told the team.

If so, the message was received as Briar Woods used hot bats – namely that of senior Kristina Karagiorgis, who was 3 for 3 with six RBI and two walks — and solid pitching from two-time All-Met junior Macy Jones to roll to a 9-1 win over Dulles District rival Woodgrove (25-5) at Radford University, giving the Ashburn school its first softball state title

“We really wanted it for our seniors,” Jones said. “And I think the key is that we really believed in ourselves and we wanted it more than we wanted anything else in our lives.”

Karagiorgis started the second inning with a six-pitch walk — forcing Woodgrove pitcher Allie Reid to throw as many pitches in that one at-bat as she had in a 1-2-3 first inning — and scored the Falcons’ first run on an fielder’s choice by Carrie Keevey.

With Briar Woods (25-4) holding a two-run lead in the third and runners on first and second, Karagiorgis smoked a three-run home run, her third of the season and second this weekend, off the left field foul pole.

“I just wanted to put it in play and I knew she was coming inside,” Karagiorgis said. “She told me she likes to jam me, so I knew I just had to step off the plate.”

While Karagiorgis supplied the offense, Jones consistently worked out of jams to preserve the lead.

With runners on the corners and no outs in the fourth inning, Jones got a fielder’s choice groundout, a pop-fly out in foul territory and then struck out her sixth batter of the day. In the fifth she worked out of a bases-loaded, two-out rally, allowing only one run.

The clutch performances may not have been possible if not for the storm, a “minor setback” players said relaxed them after a nervous, error-prone initial warm-up.

“Somebody somewhere was like, ‘Oh God, I better help them out, maybe I’ll bring in a storm,’” Traina said, smiling.

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