Legends team marks a grueling day

Published 7:28 pm Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The 16U Legends-Rogers team won four games in a row on Saturday to qualify for a trip to Montgomery, Ala., for the ASA Nationals tournament. The team includes four girls from Suffolk — Shaina Holland and Sydney Wash from King’s Fork High School, Jessie Rogers from Nansemond River High School and Brooklyn Carr from Nansemond-Suffolk Academy.

The challenge before them was to win four games on Saturday, enough to guarantee a trip to Mongomery, Ala., for the ASA Nationals.

And that’s exactly what members of the 16U Legends-Rogers fastpitch softball team did last weekend during the ASA National Virginia State qualifying tournament in Virginia Beach.

With girls from all over the Tidewater and Richmond area — including four from Suffolk — the Legends have plans for a big showcase season, but this weekend’s tournament was the first for the girls, most of whom had been participating in district, regional and state championship playoffs for their high school teams until the last couple of weeks. One of the players had returned only the night before the weekend’s tournament from her school’s state championship.

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Team members include Shaina Holland and Sydney Wash from King’s Fork High School, Jessie Rogers from Nansemond River High School and Brooklyn Carr from Nansemond-Suffolk Academy.

They and their teammates hit the field at 6:45 a.m. Saturday to warm up for their first opponent, the 16U Virginia Edge-Robinette, with an 8 a.m. game start.

The Legends jumped out to an early 2-0 lead and held the score to 2-1 until Legends shortstop Maddie Rogerson hit a two-run bomb over the fence to extend the lead to 4-1. The Edge answered with two runs in the last inning, but they were unable to close the gap, giving the win to the Legends. Wash was the winning pitcher.

The 11 a.m. second game was scheduled against the 16U Glory Elite, which had been expected to be one of the toughest teams in the tournament.

Once again, the Legends jumped out to a 2-0 lead, but the Glory quickly responded, cutting its deficit to one run. But in the third inning, the Legends’ bats ignited, with Dayna Scarberry hitting a three-run homer and another one for two runs. The Legends scored 10 runs in that inning alone, and the game was eventually called because of the run rule, with the final score at 13-1. Rissa Boelter of Deep Creek High School got the win for the Legends.

During the 2 p.m. game, the Legends faced the Vienna Stars Elite in the semifinal round. With good pitching, solid defense and timely hitting, the Legends were able to chalk up their third straight win to put them into the winners’ bracket of the championship. Boelter got the win in that game, as well.

With a win in the final game of the day, the Legends could go directly to the championship game, assured of a place in the ASA Nationals.

As it turned out, they would face some familiar names from the talented Smithfield Galaxy-Black, a team led by Nansemond River High School’s Jackie Mounie and Lauren Maddrey, Isle of Wight Academy’s Trish Webb and Smithfield High School’s Sydney Gay.

A young and athletic team with strong pitching and good hitting, the Galaxy was able to hold the Legends to a 0-0 tie until the third inning, when the Legends took a 2-0 lead that they never relinquished. The Galaxy prevented the shutout by scoring an unearned run in the fifth inning, but the final score had the Legends on top 4-1. Sydney Wash again brought home the win.

With a long day under their belts and a grueling upcoming schedule, the Legends opted not to return for the second day of the tournament, accepting the second-place outcome that resulted from that decision.

The Glory Elite was declared the ASA State Champion, with the Galaxy in third and the Edge in fourth.

“I felt that we accomplished what we came here for,” Coach Gabe Rogers said, referring to the challenge he had put before his team. “I wanted the girls to be able to enjoy their accomplishment and get some rest from such a long day in the sun.”

Through the rest of the month, the team will be traveling to Glen Allen for the NSA 18U State tournament, to Ewing, N.J., for the Newtown Rock Summer Showcase along with some of the top 18U Gold teams in the nation and to Hagerstown, Md., for another 18U tournament.