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Warhill's softball team felt the sting of defeat after struggling to keep pace with Brookville's potent offense and defense, losing 10-3 to the Bees in the Virginia High School League Softball semifinal Friday.
Both teams played one full inning before lightning and rain forced a 30-minute delay in the action, resuming with Warhill up to bat in the top of the second inning.
The delay ultimately proved costly for the Lions. Brookville starting pitcher Jordan Dail, clearly rusty from the rain delay, came out of the break struggling with her control.
After striking out Keely Rochard, Dail walked Colby Norris in four pitches. During the next at-bat, Warhill's starting shortstop Hayley Schulz took a fastball directly to her forearm and showed a good deal of discomfort afterward that eventually removed her from the lineup. An MRI would later reveal Schulz suffered a broken forearm.
"I think [the injury] rattled some people," Warhill coach Meredith Powell said. "Hayley's usually a gamer and [the girls] knew she had to be really hurt to come out of that game because she did not want to come out."
The Lions played as if they were unnerved by the loss of one of their more vocal players. Warhill opened the bottom of the second inning with a fielding error, a walked batter and a wild pitch.
Three at-bats later, Brookville broke through after a passed ball got by Jasmine Ortiz, allowing a runner to score from third base for the game's opening run. On the next pitch, Danielle Calloway hit a deep single to shortstop that allowed another run to score.
The Lions shook off the nerves to battle back in the top of the third inning. Rochard delivered a hard ground ball to right field that drove in Jewel Walters and Kieran McClure to knot the game at 2-2.
Brookville answered in a big way during the bottom of the third, plating a trio of runs to take a 5-2 lead. A Warhill fielding error allowed Elexas Jefferies to score the go-ahead run for the Bees.
On the next at-bat, Brie Atkins delivered an RBI single to right field that put Brookville up 4-2. Then, two at-bats later, Calloway again delivered for the Bees (21-2), hitting an RBI single to the shortstop for the second time in the game.
Rochard, normally an efficient pitcher, struggled to adapt to the home-plate umpire's strike zone and found herself behind in many counts.
"I think we weren't getting some pitch calls we were used to getting that were key," Powell said. "I think also they have a good lineup. They are very disciplined at the plate and adapted to the umpire's strike zone extremely well."
Warhill cut into Brookville's lead in the top of the fifth inning as Ortiz stole home plate, bringing Warhill within two runs.
The Lions (22-5) were unable to continue closing the gap, watching Brookville pile on five runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to blow the game open. The Bees reeled off four consecutive RBI plate appearances in the inning, effectively ending the game and Warhill's season.
The loss did not deter Powell from praising her team's season and what they accomplished.
"I think when you look back and it sinks it, win or lose, we are one of the top four teams in the state for 3A," she said. "They had a blast this season and I had a blast coaching them. Regardless of what that scoreboard said, I believe in those 18 girls and my coaching staff. We made a lot of people proud and they should be proud of themselves."
Warhill: 002;010;0 – 3 4 3
Brookville: 023;005;x – 10 12 2
WP: Jordan Dail
LP: Keely Rochard
Warhill: Keely Rochard (2-4, 2 RBIs), Jasmine Ortiz (1-3, R)
Brookville: Danielle Calloway (2-4, 2 RBIs), Brie Atkins (2-4, 2 RBIs)