Leesburg, Va. — After striking out six of the first seven batters she faced, it was shaping up to be a big night for Tuscarora High School sophomore ace Lindsey Mullen. In her first high school postseason, Mullen had already tossed a perfect game—and while a hit by pitch in the second stopped any hopes of a second one—Mullen was in complete control throughout the night, no hitting Amherst County through seven complete innings.
Trailing 1-0 heading into the bottom of the sixth, Mullen also provided the Huskies with their big spark offensively, blasting a line drive solo home run just left center to tie things up for her team.
Heading into the top of the eighth, Mullen quickly retired the first two Lancers she faced before junior left fielder Kayleigh Combs broke up Mullen’s no hitter with a line drive single up the middle. Then Lancers junior center fielder Kaelyn Ramsey drove a ball to deep left center, scoring Combs, and giving Amherst County a late 2-1 lead. The Lancers added one more run for good measure by way of a passed ball.
“All season, we really capitalized in those big situations which any coach would obviously love,” Amherst County head coach Sam Thacker said.
Despite getting the tying run to the plate in the bottom of the eighth, Mullen and the young Huskies fell short of their state title hopes, dropping an extra-inning heartbreaker to the Lancers, 3-1, on June 23 in Leesburg.
“I thought with how young we are, and only playing 12 games in the regular season, we did a phenomenal job,” Tuscarora head coach Bridget Kemp said. “Amherst played a tough game and just got the big hit when they needed it.”
With just a single senior on their roster and six underclassmen in their starting lineup, the Huskies got runners into scoring position in 4 of their 8 innings but were only able to push across the one run on the Mullen solo homer.
Luckily for the Huskies, Mullen has dominated just about every lineup she faced all season and was in complete control against Amherst County as well. The sophomore ace no hit the Lancers through seven complete innings while striking out 11 and allowed just a single, unearned run on a safety squeeze in the third inning.
“Lindsey has done that all season,” Kemp said. “She always keeps us in games and gives us a shot.”
On the other side of the diamond, Amherst County sophomore Dylan McNerney fought out of numerous jams, keeping the young Lancers—who started four underclassmen—in the ball game, allowing just the one big hit.
In the end, the junior outfield duo of Combs and Ramsey and the craftiness of McNerney in the circle proved to be the difference, sending the Lancers to the first VHSL 4A State championship game in program history. Amherst County will travel to Hanover High School on June 26 to play for the state title.
“You want to be excited now, but you also know you have another game to look forward to,” Thacker said. “Our girls are doing such a great job, and I couldn’t ask for any more heart or desire.”
Amherst County Batting
Amherst County Pitching
|Dylan McNerney (W)||8||6||1||1||2||6|
|Lindsey Mullen (L)||8||2||3||1||5||11|