As Loudoun County’s reserves flooded the circle to celebrate Friday night in Leesburg, one word echoed from the dugout. After beating Virginia AA Dulles District rival Woodgrove, 3-2, the Raiders could finally say ‘finally’.
By throwing a runner out at first base, senior pitcher Kiley Jacobus wrapped up Loudoun County’s first win over No. 6 Woodgrove (7-2, 7-1), which had won all six previous meetings and captured the last two by a combined three runs.
Jacobus pitched a complete game, went 3 for 3 and was a triple short of the cycle. She also scored all three runs for the Raiders (8-2, 7-1).
“We’ve been close to beating them two times and we finally came through,” she said.
The win brings some much-needed elation after what Loudoun County Coach Richard Sullivan called “a rough week.”
After starting the season 5-0, Loudoun County lost two games in six days. Defeating Woodgrove, the defending Region II and Virginia AA state champion, marked Loudoun County as the first area team to topple Woodgrove this season.
“Really we’ve just been battling defensively,” Sullivan said. “We changed some things around.”
Sullivan moved senior slap-bunter Sierra Jacksonin to shortstop from the outfield, and Jackson registered the first out of the game.
Both Jacobus and Woodgrove junior Jazmyn Rohrer hurled pitches at high velocities, setting up a low-scoring, back-and-forth contest featuring three lead changes and two ties.
Rohrer tallied 10 strikeouts, but Jacobus got the best of her at the plate. With the game tied 2-2 in the sixth inning, Jacobus reached base with a single. Rohrer was pulled, and her replacement walked two batters to move Jacobus to third base.
A wild pitch sailed past Woodgrove catcher Margaret Hale, and Jacobus sprinted home with the winning run.
“I’m best friends with the catcher, and I knew that she would do anything and everything to block that, so I knew that I had to be aggressive,” Jacobus said.
Rorher retired the first three batters she faced, but a second-inning battle with Jacobus ended with the Raiders pitcher sending a two-strike fastball — she was expecting a change-up — over the left field fence for a solo home run.
She returned to the circle and loaded the bases in the third before Woodgrove shortstop Alayna Furr scored on a passed ball.
But Jacobus would regain the lead when she scored on sophomoreBecca Tatara’s RBI single in the fourth.
Loudoun County’s long week was finally been replaced with a banner day for the program, but Sullivan won’t let the win affect his team’s outlook. The Raiders still have to play Woodgrove in the Wolverines’ backyard.
“There’s a lot more games to go,” he said. “We might have looked past a few others, and we know we can’t do that down the stretch.”