After giving up two runs in the top of the first inning, Briar Woods pitcher Madison Goodman appeared to be in for a slugfest against Stone Bridge on Wednesday night in Ashburn. But with her team facing a deficit before its first turn at the plate, Goodman buckled down and went back to work.
Over the next six innings she caught Bulldog batters reaching for her riseball and froze several others with her fastball to guide Briar Woods to an 8-4 win in the Conference 14 championship.
“I knew my defense had my back, and they’ve always been behind me,” said Goodman, who finished with six strikeouts. “I knew I could count on them if I just threw my stuff, and that’s what we did to come out with the big win.
The junior right-hander battled the lingering effects of a knee injury she suffered last summer. Yet Goodman showed no signs of discomfort Wednesday as she worked through the Stone Bridge lineup, stranding eight base runners.
Junior Kayla Brennan smoked a run-scoring double to right to give the Falcons the lead in the top of the third.
The Bulldogs (13-8) quickly tied the game at 3-3 when junior Emily Kenny drew a bases-loaded walk in the fourth. Kenny, who has seven home runs and 34 RBI this season and went 6 for 8 against the Falcons during the regular season, was intentionally walked each time to the plate.
“She’s the best hitter right now in high school softball that I’ve seen in this area,” Briar Woods Coach Chris Starke said. “That’s absolute respect.”
The walks were high risk and high reward for the Falcons as Kenny never reached home, and just once touched second base.
In the sixth, with Briar Woods clinging to a 5-4 lead, senior Virginia Tech commit Jordan Counts stepped to the plate. She was 0 for 3, , but with one swing of the bat, she belted a run-scoring double to create cushion for Goodman. Brendes followed with a two-run double that provided the final margin.
Goodman retired three straight batters in the seventh inning to lift Briar Woods to its first conference title since 2011. The Falcons won the Dulles District three years ago en route to the Virginia AA state championship.
“We’ve been trying hard to get that back and we finally got it back this year,” said Counts, who was a freshman on the 2011 team. “It’s an amazing feeling to get it back and kind of end where we started.
Briar Woods will host a 5A North region quarterfinal game Monday while Stone Bridge will host Lee in a first-round matchup Friday.