When she wasn’t battling Fauquier hitters from the pitching circle in Thursday’s Virginia AA Region II semifinal, Briar Woods senior Macy Jones found time to consider the situation: A loss would end the defending state champion Falcons’ season — and her distinguished high school career.
With those stakes on her mind, the two-time All-Met helped deliver a 5-3 victory over Fauquier in Warrenton.
Jones pitched a complete game; she also hit a home run and scored the winning run on sophomore Casey Forbes’s seventh-inning single to help her team clinch a return trip to the state tournament.
The Falcons will travel to rival Woodgrove, a 7-0 winner over Louisa County in the other semifinal, for Friday’s region championship game.
“I started almost crying like twice in the dugout,” Jones said with a laugh afterward. “I had to stop myself, but I’m really glad we won because that would’ve been really upsetting not to make it to states my senior year.”
Briar Woods (22-3) scratched out just enough offense against Fauquier senior pitcher Sarah Kleinfelter (George Mason) to advance.
Kleinfelter retired the first nine hitters she faced and yielded just four hits with seven strikeouts.
Jones accounted for one of those hits with a high blast over the center field fence to lead off the fourth inning.
And with the game tied at 3 in the top of the seventh, the Penn State recruit sparked the decisive outburst with a two-out walk.
After another walk and a wild pitch, Forbes flicked an opposite-field single into left field to score Jones with the go-ahead run. Freshman Danielle Brendes also scored on the play after the throw from the outfield was errant.
“I’ve been struggling with outside pitches,” Forbes said. “I finally saw the outside pitch and threw my bat at it, and it ended up where I wanted it to be.”
Jones made that late offense stand up: She quickly retired Fauquier (20-4) in order to end the game. Jones wasn’t at her sharpest pitching for a third straight day, but she struck out nine and gave up just one earned run.
Briar Woods needed two days to finish its quarterfinal win at Skyline because of rain on Tuesday; that ensured a quick turnaround for Thursday’s game.
Weather permitting, the Falcons will continue the grueling run on Friday with another road contest.
“It’s just a matter of us fighting through the fatigue,” Coach Jennifer Traina said. “I told the girls before the game, ‘We have all summer to sleep, but we only have limited time to play softball.’ ”
In the other semifinal, Allie Reid pitched a four-hit shutout with seven strikeouts to help Woodgrove (23-2) beat Louisa County and clinch its second straight state tournament appearance.
Rachel Harris went 1 for 3 with an RBI and two runs scored and Mackenzie Moler went 1 for 3 with two RBI to pace the Wolverines, who have won 22 of their last 23 games.