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Nalls’ pitching, Miller’s hitting help Fauquier bury Broadway softball team

Tuesday, Apr. 22 | By Fred Hodge
Tess Miller hit her first career homer in Fauquier's 8-2 win over Broadway on Monday. --Fauquier Times Staff Photo/Randy Litzginer
The timeliness of base hits often is more important than the total number of hits you get in a game.

Just ask the Fauquier Falcons.

Following a 4-0 start to the 2014 season, the Falcons entered this week losing of three of their next four. In two of those losses, Fauquier left multitude of runners in scoring position.

In Monday's 8-2 win over perennial state power Broadway, the Falcons used a six-run outburst to break a 2-2 tie that elevated the Falcons' overall mark to 6-3.

FHS also avenged an earlier 7-2 loss to the Gobblers.

The game also saw coach Mark Ott use backup pitcher Apryl Nalls for the entire game, and she delivered a gem, going the distance.

"I was in a really good mood," Nalls said. "After not expecting to pitch at all this year, I [discovered] I kind of miss it."

Normal pitcher Tess Miller also made headlines, crushing her first career homer in the Falcons' decisive inning.

Angelle Marshall led off the key inning frame with a hard-hit ground ball that went through the third baseman's legs into left field. Jesse Goodwin followed with a successful sacrifice bunt to advance Macy Mathews, the courtesy runner for Marshall.

Leann Brown then collected an infield single on a grounder that glanced off the diving shortstop's glove. Outfielder Robyn Fletcher came to the plate and delivered a line drive double just inside the right field line. By the time the throw returned to the infield, Mathews had scored and Fauquier, now up 3-2, never relinquished the lead

"I was just looking for a ball to get the runners in," Fletcher said humbly. "I wasn't looking for anything in particular.

"I just hit it where the ball was pitched," she said of Broadway's concentration of outside pitches to her. "We usually go for the right side when we have runners on.

"I think we are out of our rut," she concluded, as the 11-hit attack arrived in timely fashion.

Rachel Taylor then reached base after being hit by a pitch before Ashtyn Foddrell laced shrp single to cetnr to score Brown and Fletcher for a 5-2 advantage. An Apyrl Nalls fielder's choice erased Taylor at third to bring Tess Miller to the plate.

Miller, who finished 3-for-3 with five RBIs, then proceeded to launch a long fly ball over the left center field fence for three-run shot and 8-2 advantage.
Miller admitted the homer was her first varsity round-tripper, and hopefully signaled the end of an early season hitting drought.

Coach Mark Ott has noted Miller had been the recipient of bad luck, as she had multiple hard-hit balls right at fielders.

"I as just hoping to hit it hard somewhere," Miller said, recalling she had no expectation the ball would clear the fence. "Not at all."

Miller noted the Falcons had an enjoyable pregame meeting that seemed to placed everyone into a focused mood. "I was relaxed out there," she said.

Miller is the team's top pitcher, but Monday she swapped places with Nalls. Miller played first and Nalls moved into the circle.

The coaching staff considered returning the pair to their regular positions after four innings, but Nalls submitted a mild protest. The result was a seven-inning complete game, with Nalls gaining the victory after allowing six hits and striking out five.

"I didn't want to come out," Nalls admitted, citing her drop curve as her most effective pitch on the night.

Broadway tallied its two runs in the top of the first, with Fauquier retaliating with two in its half of the inning. Taylor and Foddrell both singled and Nalls walked to load the bases for Miller, who delivered a two-run single to center.

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