The Washington Post

Softball: South County edges Lake Braddock in extra innings for Va. 6A North region title

South County sophomore shortstop Jade Williams stepped into the batter’s box focused on one thing — a coveted waist-high pitch.

The Stallions were deadlocked in a scoreless tie at rival Lake Braddock in Friday’s Virginia 6A North region title game in Burke, and for the third time this season they found themselves in extra innings.

With two outs in the eighth and a runner on second, Williams fouled off several low pitches until she got what she wanted. She turned on an inside, waist-high offering and smacked it down the left field line for an RBI double.

Williams’s clutch hit scored the first run of the game, and Mollie Maglich followed with another RBI double to left to provide enough cushion for South County to hold off the Bruins, 2-1. The win gave the Stallions their first region title since 2009.

“I was just going with it, and it just happened to go through,” Williams said. “I was tearing up because I was excited. We’ve wanted this for so long now, and I think we finally got what we deserved.”

For seven innings, Bruins starter and Virginia Gatorade player of the year Ashley Flesch and Stallions pitcher Rebecca Martin matched one another’s dominance in the circle.

Flesch was four days removed from a 202-pitch outing in Monday’s region quarterfinal win, but she still managed to deliver eight innings with seven strikeouts. Flesch had good command of her riseball and fastball, but South County (24-3) looked comfortable seeing her for the fourth time this spring.

Williams finished the game 2 for 3 with a walk and a strikeout, and the No. 2 Stallions were able to collect eight extra-base hits. They had managed only one run total in the three previous meetings.

“I was pretty comfortable today,” Williams said. “I’ve seen her a lot, and we’ve been hitting her and getting progressively better every game. I knew the hits were going to fall in.”

Martin mixed in curveballs, dropballs and fastballs to keep the third-ranked Bruins (24-2) off balance. She allowed eight hits, but with her awareness and the defense behind her, she stranded nine Lake Braddock runners.

“The defense was phenomenal,” Martin said. “I think every single position had a great play that saved the game.”

After South County took the 2-0 lead, the Bruins answered with a Danielle Newman one-out sacrifice fly to right to get on the board. Newman’s sacrifice advanced Caroline Jones to third with Lake Braddock down to its final out. Martin induced a popout to second base to seal the win.

The Stallions will face First Colonial in next Friday’s state semifinals at Robinson at 7 p.m. Lake Braddock will play 6A South region champion Cosby in the first game at 4 p.m.

Around the area

Woodgrove claimed its fourth consecutive region title with a 7-3 victory over Fauquier in the 4A North region final at home in Purcellville. The Wolverines trailed 1-0 in the first inning, but eventually tied the game at 3 after four innings.

In the fifth, the Wolverines scored four runs that made the difference.

In the big inning, Grace Sanderson, Hallie Daughtry and Rachel Harris all had run-scoring singles.

Daughtry went 2 for 4 with two RBI and a home run. Sophomore Alexa Dolby was 2 for 3 with two runs and a walk.

Woodgrove will play 4A South runner-up Grafton in the state semifinals at Lynchburg’s Liberty University at 4 p.m. Friday. . . .

In the 3A East region final, Brentsville defeated Park View-South Hill on the road, 3-1, and it will play the loser of the Brookville-Turner Ashby 3A West region final Friday at noon at Liberty.

Briar Woods fell to Patrick Henry-Ashland, 6-2, in the 5A North region final. Patrick Henry scored in the top of the first on a two-out RBI double, but the Falcons tied it in the bottom of the frame on senior Jordan Counts’s single that scored Casey Forbes, who was on third after a triple.

The Falcons scored their final run on a two-out single by Meghan Bradshaw that scored senior Carrie Keevey.

The Falcons will face 5A South champion Prince George in Friday’s state semifinal at 4 p.m. at Lake Braddock.

“I thought we played hard,” Briar Woods Coach Chris Starke said. “We made some errors defensively that are out of our norm, and at this stage of the season errors get magnified and turned into runs. We played them tough and hope to see them again in the state final.”



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