Chantilly (June 8, 2013) – Stone Bridge High School had five players with multi-hit games while senior Kelly McDaniel led the way in the pitching circle, allowing only one run, as the Bulldogs knocked off reigning state champion Cosby, 9-1 on Saturday afternoon at Westfield High School to advance to the VHSL state championship game.
Stone Bridge (28-1) will face Great Bridge at 1 p.m. Sunday in the state finals at Westfield High School. Great Bridge beat Orange County, 4-1, Saturday in the other semifinal match-up.
Offensively Saturday Stone Bridge was led by sophomore Emily Kenny (2-4, HR, 4 RBI, R) and aided by seniors Sydney Broderick (2-2, 2B, 2 BB, SB, 2 RBI, 2 R), Katie Bellino (2-3, 2B, BB, R) and McDaniel (2-4, 2 RBI, R). The Bulldogs fifth multi-hit game came off the bat of senior leadoff batter Niki Prince (3-5, 2B, SB, 2 R).
“[Prince is] the epitome of a ballplayer,” Bulldogs coach Billy Rice said. “She gets after it. She challenges every pitcher. She has so many tools that she causes problems for the defense. She’s a pleasure to have on our team, that’s for sure.”
Prince was driven in twice by the centerfielder Broderick.
“Sydney can do anything,” Rice said. “She can blast the ball out of the park. She can hit for doubles. She hits the ball with power all across the ball park.”
Even with the strong support from the senior duo, the real offensive fireworks came off the bat of Kenny who hit a two-run homer in the fifth to cap off the Stone Bridge rally and swung momentum completely in the Bulldogs favor.
“Emily has got thunder in her hands,” Rice said. “Her balls just carry: they just fly. I’m so happy she got a hold of that ball like she did.”
A humble Kenny credited the entire Bulldogs lineup for the hitting display put on tonight. Stone Bridge reached base 19 times while connecting with six extra-base hits.
“Our offense did a really good job,” Kenny said. “Everyone just went up there, relaxed and did what they always do. It was a normal day for us.”
Kenny hope tomorrow is just another normal day for her, her teammates and their starting pitcher in McDaniel. Rice agrees with Kenny, hoping that McDaniel is prepared to pitch in Sunday’s 1 p.m. state championship game at Westfield High School.
“I hope she comes ready,” Rice said. “I hope to see her ready from the get go. Even if we do give up some hits here and there we’re going to do whatever we need to. We’re going to support Kelly. She’s got a stellar defense behind her. It’s a huge confidence point for her to be able to stand out there and throw pitches that sometimes she knows they’re going to hit even though we might need a strikeout. The team behind her steps up.”
“Stepping up” is the game plan as the Bulldogs look to add to a Stone Bridge trophy case which already includes seven VHSL state championships since opening in 2000, but none with the softball team’s name on it.
“Everyone wants to finish off the year on a win,” Kenny said. “That’s what we’re going to do.”
Prince 3-5, 2B, SB, 2 R
Gibson, P. 1-4, 2B, sac bunt, RBI, R
Broderick 2-2, 2B, 2 BB, SB, 2 RBI, 2 R
McDaniel 2-4, 2 RBI, R
Kenny 2-4, HR, 4 RBI, R
Tatara 1-4, 2B
Bellino 2-3, 2B, BB, R
Quinn BB, batter’s interference
Sweat BB Ols 1-3, R
Stargardt 1-3, sac bunt
Copley 2-3, 2B, RBI
Stone Bridge McDaniel
W 7 IP, 1 R, 1 ER, 4 H, 2 BB, 1 K
Whitcomb L 7 IP, 9 R, 9 ER, 12 H, 5 BB, 2 K