SALEM — Woodgrove was denied a fourth straight Virginia softball championship when William Byrd scored on a bases loaded error in the bottom of the seventh to take a 3-2 win over the Wolverines in the Class 4 state title game Friday afternoon in Salem.
With the game tied at 2-2, Woodgrove relief pitcher Jamiee Hardy hit Byrd’s Megan Grant to lead off the seventh inning. Two batters later the Terriers’ Jada Karnes doubled to advance Grant to third with the potential winning run.
Woodgrove Coach Joe Spicer elected to walk cleanup hitter Brianna Hodges to load the bases and set up a force play at each base. The strategy didn’t work, as Byrd’s Sydney Burton came to the plate and lined a Hardy pitch to left field that glanced off the glove of one of the Wolverines, allowing Grant to score.
“We thought they were going to squeeze there and go for the win. We moved our outfielders in and played for the percentages, but their girl did her job,” Spicer said.
William Byrd (20-6) opened the scoring in the fourth inning on a two-out RBI single that made it 1-0.
The Wolverines quickly answered back in the top of the fifth. Carly Bradley tripled to right-center field, and Shelbie Daughtry sent her home with a sacrifice fly one batter later to tie things up at 1-1.
Woodgrove (22-6) took their first lead the next inning when Maddie Milne hit a flyball to center that initially looked like it had been caught by the Terriers’ center fielder, but the umpires ruled the ball came out.
Senior catcher Max Barnes, who walked to open the sixth, scored all the way from second on the error to give the Wolverines a 2-1 lead.
William Byrd, however, tied things back up in the bottom of the inning on an RBI single from Erin Courtemanche.
Along with providing a key hit in the seventh inning rally, Karnes pitched a complete game two-hitter for the Terriers while walking three and striking out five.
“She’s probably one of the better pitchers we’ve seen all year,” Spicer said.
After the loss, Barnes expressed pride over the team’s success the past four years, including four straight appearances in the state title game.
“We can’t complain,” she said. “Most schools don’t even ever get to this point. We’ve been very lucky.”