Fittingly enough the Softball Pioneer District Tournament Championship game came down to the Covington Lady Cougars and the Parry McCluer Fighting Blues.
Just days prior, the Lady Cougars defeated the Fighting Blues 7-3 at Alleghany High School in a one-game playoff to determine the regular season district champions.
Last Friday night was nothing short of what the two teams have been doing against one another and that was playing in a hard fought game.
But in the end, the Covington Lady Cougars prevailed 7-6 in nine innings to win the 2022 Pioneer District Tournament Championship.
A quick briefing of the International Tie Breaker (ITB) rule, in the event that a game is tied after seven innings, the team batting will start with a runner at second base. This is to provide a speedier conclusion to the game. Major League Baseball (MLB) does the same now after nine innings. Typically the runner would be the previous out recorded from the previous inning.
In the bottom of the ninth inning of a tied ball game, Addison Morris (2-for-4) was the runner at second base with leadoff batter of the inning, Christina Terrell (4-for-5) coming to the plate. Terrell on the second pitch of the inning, ripped the ball nearly up the middle past a diving second basemen that would score Morris from second base and win the championship.
Let’s give you a visual of it, as Terrell hits the ball up the middle, Morris, would be waved home as she came around third base and the throw from the Fighting Blues outfield would provide a play at the plate. Morris however, would get in safely just before the catcher tagged her.
And that’s when the celebrating began.
Backed by a great performance at the plate, Terrell, put together a four-hit performance to go along with one RBI which was the biggest in the game as it was the game winner.
The Lady Cougars finished with 11 hits in the game. Only Terrell and Brooklyn Hicks (2-for-4) had a multiple hit game. Hicks had an RBI and a run scored. Meanwhile, Morris, led the Lady Cougars with two RBI’s.
As a team, the Lady Cougars six players with RBI’s. Gabriyl Marshall (1-for-4), Kayla Bartley (W, 1-for-3), and Lexi Dressler (1-for-3) also provided an RBI each in the win.
On the mound, Bartley, went the distance and more pitching a nine-inning complete game. While the Fighting Blues did hit well against Bartley, 13 hits, it was Bartley, who got big outs when it mattered especially in the top of the ninth inning. With two runners on and no outs, Bartley caught a tough pop fly on the run and doubled off the ITB runner at second for the double play. She would get out of the inning with the next batter. Bartley, gave up six runs (five earned) in nine innings while walking two and striking out eight.
For the Fighting Blues, they did everything they could and more to try and beat the Lady Cougars. However, each time the Fighting Blues got on the scoreboard, the Lady Cougars found an answer. It wasn’t until the fifth inning where the Fighting Blues fell behind.
The offense of the Fighting Blues put together a 13-hit game, but a few missed opportunities hurt them in the end.
Katie Claytor (L, 3-for-5), led the Fighting Blues with a team-high in hits with three and RBI’s with two. Claytor, also had a solo home run, which was part of their comeback in the top of the seventh inning. Her home run cut the teams deficit at the time to one run at 6-5. The Fighting Blues would eventually tie the game to force extra innings on an RBI double from Olivia Julian (1-for-5). Claytor, did suffer the loss, pitching in eight innings while giving up seven runs on 11 hits, walking two, and striking out seven.
In the end it was a key missed opportunity for the Fighting Blues that could of changed the game around completely. In the top of the third inning the Fighting Blues had three straight hits that led to a run score which put the team ahead 3-2. The Lady Cougars, backed by Bartley and great defense, would shutdown the Fighting Blues and not allow anymore damage from the inning. With runners on second and third base with no outs, Logan Vest (2-for-5), tried scoring from third base, but would be thrown out at home. Bartley, would then get Kallie Grow (2-for-4) to ground out to end the inning for the Fighting Blues.
The Fighting Blues had two runners in scoring position, leading 3-2 and a chance to open the game. It was a big missed opportunity that cannot go uncredited by the performance of the Lady Cougars for shutting them down after the Fighting Blues regained the lead. That was one of the critical points of the game. The Lady Cougars showed a lot of heart that inning and would come back in the home half to tie the game at 3-3.
2022 Pioneer Softball District Championship
Parry McCluer at Covington
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
PHS 2 0 1 0 1 0 2 0 0 6 13 2
CHS 1 1 1 0 3 0 0 0 1 7 11 2
Fighting Blues Batting
Batter AB H RBI R W SO
Emore 5 3 0 2 0 0
Vest 5 2 1 1 0 1
Claytor 4 3 2 2 1 0
Wade 4 1 0 1 1 0
Julian 5 1 1 0 0 2
K Grow 4 2 1 0 0 0
Dudley 4 0 0 0 0 1
A Grow 4 1 0 0 0 1
Henson 4 0 0 0 0 3
TOTAL 39 13 5 6 2 8
Batter AB H RBI R W SO
Cantrell 3 1 0 2 2 0
Morris 4 1 2 2 0 2
Terrell 5 4 1 2 0 0
Bartley 3 0 1 0 0 0
Dressler 3 1 1 0 0 0
Ruckel 4 0 0 0 0 0
Hicks 4 2 1 1 0 0
Marshall 4 1 1 0 0 2
Scott 3 1 0 0 0 2
Bragg 1 0 0 0 0 1
TOTAL 34 11 7 5 2 7
Fighting Blues Pitching
Pitcher IP H R ER BB S0
Claytor (L) 8 11 7 7 2 7
TOTAL 4.2 7 11 5 5 7
Pitcher IP H R ER BB SO
Bartley (W) 9 13 6 5 2 8
TOTAL 9 13 6 5 2 8
The Virginian Review has been serving Covington, Clifton Forge, Alleghany County and Bath County since 1914.