Two fielding miscues coupled with a successful coach’s challenge produced a pair of sixth-inning runs, enabling the Mountain View softball team to best Colonial Forge 2–0 in a Commonwealth District clash on Tuesday.
First-year coach Brianna Worley won her first challenge of the season after claiming that Kayla Gayle was safe at first base following a high throw, forcing the Eagles’ Caroline Keefer’s foot off the base.
The initial out call was reversed after the umpires consulted and the Wildcats wasted no time capitalizing on the opportunity. Two fielder’s choices, another throwing error and Teagan Levesque’s run-scoring double produced all the offense pitching ace Jessie Kantor required.
Both pitchers were in top form. Kantor fired a two-hitter and struck out 10, while the Eagles’ Kayla Stephenson limited the Wildcats to five hits in going the distance. The sophomore has struck out 99 batters for the season.
“We had one little mistake, but we fought all the way through,” Stephenson said. “I just skipped through it. OK, we can try to battle back on offense. I will focus on it [the mistakes] later, but I didn’t let it affect me during the game.”
While last Friday’s game against district co-leader Riverbend was washed out and will not be made up, the Wildcats (12–3, 8–1) have plenty of incentive going into their final two regular-season games: at Brooke Point on Wednesday and at Massaponax on Friday.
Victories in both games would ensure Mountain View receives one of the two first-round byes in the Class 5D sub-regional competition that begins next Wednesday.
“At this point, we’re rolling,” Worley said. “So I feel like we’re coming out and playing every game the way we are supposed to. Sometimes we come out a little slow, but they seem to want to win and come out and play for it.”
The Wildcats wasted scoring opportunities in the first and fifth innings when Annalese Franklin and Annaliese Prudimott delivered a triple and double, respectively, but were left stranded.
“Overall as a team, we brought it up in the dugout,” Levesque said of the team’s inability to provide timely hits. “Bring each other up to hit the ball.”
Levesque reached base safely all three plate appearances and finished with two hits. “With a runner on third, my job was to hit the ball,” the freshman said.
“We started off slow, that’s what we do,” Kantor admitted. “We definitely have to start ordering our hits better, come out strong.” The junior transfer from North Stafford bested Colonial Forge 5–0 in the first game between the two teams.
About finding a new spot to play her junior year, Kantor commented: “I love it here. It’s a homey feeling. The girls are so nice and supportive.”
While Kantor’s strikeout totals can lull a teammate to relax a bit, the Wildcats nevertheless played error-free ball against Colonial Forge with the outfielders drawing special praise from coach Worley.
“I thought we played solid out there today. Good defensive game, there was one inning,” Colonial Forge coach Jim Edwards reflected. “Either team could have won. One questionable call got us. He [the umpire] said she came off the base. We take it and move on.”
Stephenson indicated the team struggle in the early-going while six freshmen became accustomed to the game, but has hung together and expect further improvement next season. The Eagles (3–13, 2–9) entertain North Stafford in their regular-season finale on Friday.
Both Colonial Forge and Riverbend will compete in the Class 6 Region 5 tournament that begins next Thursday.
KAYLA STEPHENSON and Tessa Genovese. JESSIE KANTOR and Annalese Franklin.