Sunday, December 3, 2023

State Softball: Warhill overcomes stagnant offense to reach state title game

Keely Rochard struck out 10 batters on Friday. (file photo)
Keely Rochard struck out 10 batters on Friday. (file photo)

Behind a strong pitching performance by Keely Rochard, Warhill’s softball team defeated Broadway 2-0 on Friday morning in the Group 3A semifinals at Liberty University.

Thanks to Rochard’s complete-game performance — that included 10 strikeouts and just three hits allowed — the Lions are now one win shy of earning their first state championship in program history.

Rochard’s dominance came at a good time, as Warhill’s offense stalled for most of the game during a three-hit effort.

“Certainly, we’re going to have to come back and hit better than this tomorrow,” said Warhill Softball Coach Tom Bunn.

Warhill (24-1) opened the scoring in the bottom of the second inning after Makayla Fannin drew a walk. Fannin quickly stole second base before advancing to third on a groundout by Jasmine Ortiz. Lindsey Davis executed a successful bunt, reaching first base and sending Fannin across home.

Leading 1-0 in the bottom of the fifth inning, Rochard came up big at the plate for the Lions, delivering an RBI single that scored Olivia Schulz for the game’s final run.

After allowing back-to-back singles to open the top of the seventh inning, Rochard retired three consecutive batters to end the game.

Now the Lions will turn their attention to Saturday’s Group 3A championship game against Brookville, which is slated to begin at 10 a.m. The matchup of pitchers on Saturday will feature a duel between two Virginia Tech commits, Warhill’s Rochard and Brookville’s Jordan Dail.

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