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After starting slowly against Churchland during Monday’s 4A South quarterfinals, Grafton’s softball team pulled away for a commanding 11-1 home win in five innings.
The Clippers showed some early jitters, committing two errors in the top of the first inning that led to Churchland’s lone run in the game.
“We were nervous in the first inning, both coaches,” Grafton coach Vanessa Young said. “Right now your season is on the line, and that’s the attitude we need to have.”
Falling behind 1-0 early, the Clippers quickly responded in the bottom of the first. Christa Hall, Grafton’s leadoff hitter, beat a throw to first base after the Churchland catcher dropped a called third strike.
A fielding error by Churchland during the next at-bat allowed Hall to cross home plate, tying the game at 1-1. From there, the game began trending heavily in Grafton’s favor.
Hall continued to produce for the Clippers in the bottom of the second inning, putting them on top 2-1 after hitting an RBI single to center field.
Grafton continued to pour on offense in the bottom of the third, scoring a pair of runs off an Ansley Ashby sacrifice bunt and heads-up base running from Kayley Cox, who reached home after a dropped third strike prompted a throw to first base.
While the Grafton offense began heating up, Cox was dealing in the circle. Cox struck out seven batters, allowing two hits and one run over five innings.
The game was put away by the Clippers in the bottom of the fifth inning thanks to an offensive explosion by every batter to step to the plate in the inning.
Ashby started the inning with a single, which was followed by a Shannon Hallingstad double to left field. Those two at-bats gave way to an RBI single from Lauren Washburn. A sacrifice bunt from Kierson Tavares drove in Hallingstad on the next at-bat.
With a runner on base, Hall stepped to the plate and crushed a two-run home run over the fence in left-center field to extend Grafton’s lead to 8-1.
“She hits leadoff for a reason,” Young said. “We put here there because we want her to get as many at-bats as she can. We’re comfortable with the bat in her hand, especially in key situations like that.”
Back-to-back singles from Sprouse and Marika Whitlatch gave way to a Tara Deck RBI single to center field. The final play of the game came during the next at-bat as Kayley Cox delivered a two-run line drive into left field, which ended the game per the Virginia High School League’s 10-run rule.
Grafton (18-5) will now prepare to take on the winner between Nansemond River and Glen Allen in the 4A South semifinals, which will be played Wednesday.
Churchland: 100;00 – 1 2 5
Grafton: 112;07 – 11 13 2
WP: Kayley Cox
Churchland: F. Crowder (RBI), Horne (1-3, R)
Grafton: Christa Hall (2-4, 3 RBIs, HR), Kayley Cox (1-3, 2 RBIs)
York Routs Hopewell
The York softball team had no trouble getting past Hopewell in the 3A East quarterfinal Monday, winning 14-1 on the road.
York’s offense exploded behind a trio of RBIs from Chelsea Evans, who also earned the win in the circle, and Britany Hepner.
The Falcons did not wait to flex their offensive muscles, scoring three runs in the first inning, six in the second inning and another four in the third inning, building a quick 13-0 advantage.
With the game in control quickly, Evans was replaced in the circle by Madison Capps after two innings. Capps pitched the final three innings, allowing one unearned run and four hits.
York (15-7) will now prepare to play the winner of Brenstville and William Monroe in the 3A East semifinals on Wednesday.
York: 364;010 – 14 12 3
Hopewell: 000;01x – 1 5 9
WP: Chelsea Evans
York: Chelsea Evans (2-2, 3 RBIs), Britany Hepner (2-3, 3 RBIs)
Warhill Leads Petersburg Before Weather Delay
Warhill's softball team built a quick 8-0 lead over Petersburg in Monday's 3A East quarterfinal game before the game was postponed due to lightning.
Before the game was postponed due to the weather, Warhill's offense was dominating the Petersburg pitching staff. Colby Norris, Keely Rochard and Kasey Tomes each drove in a pair of runs through two full innings of play.
The game will resume at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday with the winner taking on the winner between Loudoun Valley and Spotsylvania, which was also postponed due to weather on Monday.
Warhill 8, Petersburg 0 PPD