NRHS softball clinches state berth

Published 9:11 pm Thursday, June 5, 2014

It did not matter that Nansemond River High School’s softball team is still quite young. It did not matter that its players were competing in their first regional playoff game on Wednesday. It did not matter that they were playing against host Powhatan High School, an experienced team with seven seniors.

And it did not matter that the Lady Indians loaded the bases with only one out during a tied game in the bottom of the seventh.

The Lady Warriors took their hosts to eight innings and left town with a 2-1 victory, earning a berth in the state tournament and advancing to tonight’s regional championship game.

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“It’s just a representation of what we’ve been trying to do through our hard work through the whole season,” NR head coach Gabe Rogers said. “That’s why we work hard in practice, so we can put ourselves in those positions to have those opportunities.”

His team took a 1-0 lead in the second inning, but he said it had plenty of chances for runs that Powhatan thwarted by making plays.

“They did nothing to beat themselves,” Rogers said of the Lady Indians. “You could tell they had seven seniors.”

They tied the game 1-1 in the fourth inning, and looked like they were lining up the win with bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh when their batter hit the ball to right field.

Freshman Katelyn Biando caught it, but then overthrew sophomore catcher Calah Savage at home plate. The Powhatan runner from third headed for home, but sophomore pitcher Lauren Maddrey had moved behind Savage to give her backup and got the ball. The runner doubled back, but Maddrey threw her out to end the inning.

Maddrey also improved to 18-2 on the mound, throwing five strikeouts.

“Lauren threw the ball great tonight,” Rogers said.

With one out in the top of the eighth, Biando hit a sacrifice fly to center field that scored sophomore Lauren Davis, who was on third.

“I didn’t know that was going to win the game,” Biando said. “I was just thinking, ‘We’ve got to keep scoring runs.’”

While they were not able to, the Lady Warriors continued their flawless defensive performance in the bottom of the inning to seal the win.

Nansemond River out-hit Powhatan 10-7. Sophomore Jaclyn Mounie went 2-for-3 and scored her team’s first run. Biando extended her personal hit streak to 23 games.

Junior Morgan Lowers reflected on the win in light of last season’s team, which was very talented but did not advance nearly as far.

“It basically was stating that even though we lost a good pitcher last year, good third baseman, good outfielder and everything, we were able to get it back together, and we were able to come out there and do what we do,” she said.

The Lady Warriors (21-2) will host Grafton High School tonight at 5:30 p.m. in the Virginia High School League Group 4A South Region championship game.