Fauquier softball loses 4A championship game to Woodgrove, 24-1
They say time heals all wounds. It was healing the Fauquier Falcons before Saturday’s Class 4A state championship game was over.
Hopelessly behind 8-0 to the destructive Woodgrove Wolverines in the third inning, Fauquier’s dire predicament at Liberty University in Lynchburg got dramatically worse in the fourth inning when the hungry Wolverines put up another 11 runs to lead 19-0.
Woodgrove (25-2) went on to set a state record for runs scored in a 24-1 win, sending the Wolverines to their second state title in three years and handing the Falcons a hugely-disappointing loss in their first-ever state final.
“We had a great journey. ...They hit everything we threw at them,” said Fauquier coach Mark Ott.
“We never gave up. That was an important part of this. We had fun,” said Falcon freshman Leann Brown.
As they posed for photos after the game on the sunny afternoon at Liberty University, it appeared the youthful Falcons enjoyed themselves despite the lopsided score. "There's nothing we could have done," said Brown.
Woodgrove (25-2) pounded out an unbelievable 22 hits against three Falcon pitchers.
Sixteen of them were singles, many softly hit, but there were also three doubles, a triple and two home runs by Adriana Erickson.
Fauquier got its only run when Josie Adgate raced home on Angelle Marshall’s ground out in the top of the seventh, a small moral victory for the Falcons (19-8).
Overall, however, it was a rough afternoon.
Woodbridge scored three times in the bottom of the first as Grace Sanderson led off the game with a single and Halle Daughtry plated her with a bloop single over shortstop. Rachel Harris drilled a double to right center to make it 2-0. Two more singles made it 3-0.
“It was an odd game. It seemed like every hit found a hole or a gap. We had some bloops. Once we got rolling our confidence went up,” said Woodgrove coach Joe Spicer.
Two hits that weren’t bloops were the seventh and eighth home runs of the year by Wolverine star first baseman Adriana Erickson, who was 4-for-5 with five RBI. The intimidating sophomore hit a towering homer in the fourth inning that just cleared the fence. Her second homer of the game was a lot different -- a scalding bullet that took about two seconds to get out to make it 22-0 in the fifth inning.
With the mercy rule not in effect in the state final, Fauquier had to take their medicine. With another hour or more to play, the Falcons had to stare at the field and watch Wolverine after Wolverine bang out hits, circle the bases and touch home plate.
Meanwhile, the Falcon bats were largely silent. Fauquier got just four hits and only one reached the outfield decisively as Miller drilled a hard ground ball to the right center field fence for a long single in the fourth inning.
Ott thought his team was a little flat at the plate in the first inning when it would have been nice to set a tone. But he said facing Corinne Vennitti was perhaps preferred over Woodgrove’s other starter, Jazmyn Rohrer, who throws harder.
Spicer said that talented Rohrer was the team’s No. 1 pitcher last year, but had some health issues, which allowed the smaller Vennitti, who appears less dominant but is crafty and changes speeds and locations well, to come on. “It makes us stronger. One sets up the other,” said Spicer.
After Fauquier's reliable ace Tess Miller was chased in the bottom of the fourth after Erickson’s first homer, Ott turned to reliever Apryl Nalls, who was victimized by a combination of circumstances. The senior began with a four-pitch walk, then allowed a single. Back-to-back Falcon errors brought in two more runs -- and it just kept getting worse as Nalls ended up facing 11 batters and recording just one out, ultimately forcing the FHS coach to turn to star second baseman Brown, who got the last two outs of the inning in order.
Now ahead 19-0, Woodgrove added three runs off Brown in the fifth and two more in the sixth to make it 24-0.
Fauquier's scratched its lone run in the top of the seventh as Josie Adgate led off with a walk, moved to second on a walk to Nalls, made it to third on an infield single by Shelby Hightower, and came home on Marshall's ground out to shortstop.
"I was kind of scared coming home, there was a bat in the way," joked Adgate.
After a walk to Sweeney loaded the bases, Brown lined out to first to finally end a game whose result had been obvious for a while.
By this point, the Falcons weren't too distraught. There were no tears, only satisfaction at a completing a superb season.
“It feels like it ended today," said Ott of the thrill of playing in the state's most important, high stakes ballgame. "For the seniors this is a once in a lifetime memory. No one from Fauquier High School has ever made it this far. Yeah, we lost, but we accomplished a great deal along the way. It's going to make collecting the equipment a lot easier.”
Continued Ott, “Tess is back for another year. Leann was Player of the Year. Jesse (Goodwin) is (all-conference caliber), and Marlee (Ott) hit over .400 in conference play. That’s three freshmen coming back. (Junior) Rachel (Taylor) is a great shortstop. We have a lot of experience, I think we’ll be fine next year. Our goal every year is to get this far.”
“Next year I expect us to get this far and hopefully win,” said Brown.
“We made it this far, we’re happy with that,” said Miller.
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