By Owen Gotimer
Purcellville (May 21, 2016) — The seniors on the Loudoun Valley High School softball team made sure their senior night didn’t go to waste as the trio of infielders – second baseman Leah Coles, third baseman Erika Elias and shortstop McKenna Holtz – combined to go 5-for-10 with a home run, two doubles, six runs scored, five RBI and a stolen base in the Lady Vikings, 12-0, win over Rock Ridge High School in a Conference 21B semifinal in Purcellville on May 20.
Elias ended her senior night with a walkoff three-run home run as Loudoun Valley run-ruled the Phoenix to advance to the Conference 21B championship.
“I hit it, and it felt really good so I was hoping it would,” Elias said. “Then it went over, and I was so happy.”
“The slow start had to do with the festivities we had going on with senior night. It always seems to be a distraction which every coach probably hates,” Loudoun Valley head coach Kristin Thurston said. “Also, tonight was the best defensive effort we have seen from Rock Ridge.”
In the bottom of the second inning, Loudoun Valley sophomore first baseman Mackenzie Fisher hit a line drive into the right center gap when out of nowhere Rock Ridge freshman right fielder Rylee Hale soared through the air making a diving catch to rob Fisher.“You saw that we got robbed a couple times,” Thurston said. “We thought if we kept knocking at the door and kept hitting the ball, something was going to fall.”
And the ball did eventually fall as the Lady Vikings’ bats heated up in their eight-run fifth inning.
Elias led off the fifth inning with a double before Coles hit a single to left as the seniors once again got their team in motion. Junior centerfielder Sydney Hays – who homered in the third – hit an RBI single to drive in Elias as Coles scored on an overthrow by the Phoenix outfield. Holtz then doubled in Hays giving the Lady Vikings a 7-0 lead.
Loudoun Valley ended up batting around the order in the fifth as Elias came to the plate for the second time in the inning and hit the game-winning three-run home run to straightaway center sending her Lady Vikings to the Conference 21B championship game.“We’re really stoked for the conference championship and really just excited for the rest of the season,” Elias said. “We have to stay focused and stay on top of our game both on the field and in the dugout up on the fence.”
“It’s exciting to have them come here again because our girls certainly feel more comfortable playing at home. I think it’s going to be an exciting game,” Thurston said. “We know that on Monday, we’re going to have to have an extremely focused practice because Heritage is a good team.”
Elias 2-4, HR, 2B, 3 R, 3 RBI
Coles 2-3, 2 R, RBI, SB
Hays 3-3, HR, 2 R, 4 RBI
Holtz 1-3, 2B, R, RBI
Fisher 1-3, 2B
Schaaf 0-3, RBI
Kopf 2-3, ROE, R, SB
Brill 1-3, ROE, 2 R
Cassada-Maple 0-1, ROE, R, RBI
Ludowig, E. 1-3, K
Semon 0-3, 2 K
Clarke 1-2, K
Womack 0-1, HBP
Ludowig, B. 0-2
Deichler 0-1, HBP, K, SB
Broughton 1-2, 2B
Hale 0-1, sac bunt, K
Kagarise W 5 IP, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 H, 0 BB, 2 HBP, 6 K
Edmond L 4.2 IP, 12 R, 7 ER, 12 H, 0 BB, 0 K