Elements aside, Woodgrove expected Briar Woods to give the Wolverines their closest game this season. But the heavy gusts of wind sweeping across the diamond didn’t make things any easier on Wednesday night in Purcellville.
Conditions in the outfield were rough for both teams and pitches kept dragging outside. The Wolverines took advantage of a few drifting hits, scored early and were able to hang on for a 6-4 win in the first game of a double-header — their seventh straight victory against their Loudoun County rivals.
“We expected it to be tough,” pitcher Corinne Vennitti said. “It has always been a good game against them. And with the wind, it was difficult offensively and defensively, especially tracking the hits.”
Briar Woods (7-4) responded with two runs in the bottom of the first, including an RBI from Danielle Brendes that carried with the wind, which topped 20 mph. From there, only two batters from either team reached base until the top of the fourth, when an RBI single from Grace Sanderson tacked on another run for Woodgrove.
Falcons pitcher Kayla Brennan shook her head to calm herself as the wind continued to taunt the defense of both teams and push her pitches downward. Vennitti and Brennan came into the game with 54 strikeouts between them, but on Wednesday, they combined for just one. What might have been a pitcher’s duel on a clear day was instead became a contest of nerves as both hurlers worked to overcome the conditions.
Wolverines Coach Joe Spicer brought the ball to Vennitti in the bottom of the seventh and gave her a final message:“just shut the door on them.” Briar Woods managed a brief two-run rally, but Vennitti secured the win.
“That was the longest we’ve been that close during a game,” said catcher and four-year varsity player Lindsay Harris. “It’s important to prove to the team that we can focus.”
“Playing a game like this, versus last night — it’s a completely different mentality,” Vennitti said. “It’s mentally harder to stay focused when you’re up by a lot of runs. But in a game like this, it’s not just going to happen for you. You have to do your part.”