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Everybody said they had no chance.
Everybody was wrong.
The Jefferson Forest softball team earned a bite at that apple we call the Seminole District's regular-season championship, in spite of the fact the team carries seven freshmen on its roster.
The Lady Cavs fell short of the title trophy, coming tantalizingly close before falling to Rustburg, 3-0, in a nine-inning doozy of an affair.
A pair of freshmen hurlers went at it tooth and claw. Rustburg's Megan Richards and JF's Janelle Zellars combined for 13 strikeouts while yielding not a run through eight innings.
"Janelle pitched an incredible game," said JF Head Coach Bob McGrath. "She kept them off-balance all evening."
In the ninth, International Tie Breaker rules kicked in to effect, meaning the at-bat team started its inning with a runner on second base.
Rustburg made the most of that situation as a JF infield error put another runner aboard. Both were sent home when Richards smacked a triple to right field. A subsequent suicide squeeze made it 3-0, a deficit JF could not overcome.
"One hit did the damage," rued McGrath.
Still, the Cavs are poised to finish the season 9-3 in district play, which should earn them Glass or Heritage at home on Monday for the tourney.
Liberty looks sharp on Glass
The Lady Minutemen seem to be back on the upswing following an offensive output that left base runners gasping for air and scorebook keepers reaching for pencil sharpeners.
Liberty swept a doubleheader from E.C. Glass. The score wasn't pretty, folks. Break out your abacus: First game, 21-0; second game, 17-0.
Both games were mercy rule-shortened affairs, meaning that Liberty amassed those run totals in four innings of play in each game.
The way things went, the Lady Minutemen surpassed the mercy rule threshold (of a ten-run lead) in the second inning of each game. In the first, the Lady Minutemen had 14 runs after two stanzas.
In the second game, the Libertarians matched that 14-run total in the second inning, alone.
Here's another one: In Liberty's last three games, the Lady Minutemen scored a total of four runs. The team exceeded that total in the very first inning of play against Glass.
Meanwhile, Cassidy Hensley threw a no-hitter in the opener and Kasey Carr followed up with a one-hitter.
"I jut think it was a total team effort," said Head Coach Jeff Monroe of the 26 hits his crew scattered over the two games.
Liberty appears poised to claim at least a share of second place, which would have them hosting either Glass or Heritage in the opener on Monday. "Who would have thought we would be where we are with six freshmen starting?" asked Coach Monroe.
Cisco Kid to the rescue
Staunton River moved out of the Blue Ridge basement with a 3-2 win over archrival William Byrd. The game was a storm-shortened six inning affair.
Sam Cisco was the Gal o' the Game. The Kid, pressed into pitching duties because of injury to Taylor Creasey, scattered five hits while striking out six. She also put the cherry on the sundae by driving in the winning run.
Shortstop Madison Meador mauled three hits for the Eagles, who stand 2-7. The Eagles wrapped up the regular season Tuesday (after press time), against Alleghany.
River has a shot of tying for fourth place, which might earn them a home game for the district opener.
No matter, they'll be playing Monday when districts open.