NSA falls in state championship game

Published 10:42 pm Friday, May 18, 2012

Nansemond-Suffolk Academy teammates high-five each other after a hit during the VISAA championship game against BIshop O'Connell at the Petersburg Sports Complex on Friday. (Patrick Kane Photography)

By Titus Mohler

Correspondent

Nansemond-Suffolk Academy fell in the VISAA state championship game to perennial winner Bishop O’Connell by the score of 3-0 on Friday evening.

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“I think we just faced a dominant pitcher today and we did a decent job of putting the ball in play, which is what we wanted to do,” NSA coach Kim Aston said. “Unfortunately, they didn’t make any errors. They were solid defensively.”

It was an inescapable fact that the talent of Lady Knights pitcher Tori Finucane, who has signed a commitment to play at Missouri, was the deciding factor in the game. Aston knew she would be a challenge, and one that her team had not been conditioned to facing during much of the season.

“I would say she’s one of the best pitchers in the state, public or private, it doesn’t make a difference,” she said. “I know there’s not very many (college level) Division I pitchers in the state right now, and she’s definitely one of them. And that makes a difference when you don’t see consistently strong pitching like that all year long.”

While Finucane’s talent was on display, so was that of the Lady Saints pitcher Morgan Daughtry and the NSA defense. The score was 1-0 up until the bottom of the fifth inning when the final runs of the game were scored.

As they have been all season, senior shortstop Brooke Starling, junior centerfielder Katelyn McCracken, and senior Morgan Lokie came up with clutch outs. Starling was directly responsible for five.

“(Bishop O’Connell was) solid defensively,” Aston said, “but I felt like, even though we made a couple errors in the game, we stuck with it. Until they went up three to nothing, I felt like we still had a chance to do something. We just had to get a little rally together and make something happen.”

The best chance came in the top of the sixth inning.

“When Macy (Mears) got that base hit and then we had Brooke (Starling) coming up, I felt like we had a good chance at that point,” Aston said.

Unfortunately, the Lady Saints were rarely able to get back-to-back hits and were not able to capitalize on the opportunity.

The Lady Saints finished the 2012 season with a 22-2 record and a TCIS championship.

Among those selected for the VISAA All-Tournament team for their play in the past three games were NSA seniors Morgan Daughtry, Brooke Starling and Nicole Turner.

Daughtry summed up the game and the season.

“I have to give it all to my teammates,” she said. “We’re all a team and I couldn’t be more proud of the people that I’ve played with. Even though we didn’t get first, it’s still a great way to end the season. (We) came out strong, played as a team and we ended as a team.”