Lady Chargers oust SA from softball playoffs

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 14, 2008

ISLE OF WIGHT-Ashley Major drove in the game-winning run on a single with two outs in the bottom of the seventh to give Isle of Wight Academy a 7-6 win over Southampton Academy in the first round of the Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association Division III softball playoffs Tuesday.

The Lady Chargers advance to Friday’s semifinal round against either Kenston Forest School or Broadwater Academy at 5 p.m. in Richmond. The winner of that game will advance to Saturday’s state championship game. Isle of Wight is the second seed in the tournament. Tidewater Academy is the top seed.

The scrappy Lady Raiders (9-8), ranked seventh in the state, overcame a 5-3 deficit by scoring two runs in the sixth and one in the seventh to take the lead. Shelby Dunn drove in two runs with a double in the sixth inning to tie the game at 5-5.

The Lady Chargers (18-2), coming off a disappointing loss to Portsmouth Christian in the Metro Conference championship game Saturday, had an opportunity to reclaim the lead in the bottom of the sixth. Major reached on an error and Audrey Robbins lined a single to left. Sylvia Robbins bunted, putting runners at second and third with one out. But Southampton Academy pitcher Courtney Tayloe got Raleigh Dowd to pop up and Brittany Privette to ground out to end the inning.

The Lady Raiders took the lead in the top of the seventh when Samantha Upton fouled off five pitches and drew a leadoff walk off IWA pitcher Casey Mansfield. Upton eventually moved to third on a passed ball and a groundout by Taylor Bradshaw. With two outs, eighth-grader Emma Fretts lined a single to right field to drive in the go-ahead run.

&uot;Emma is just a natural athlete,&uot; said Shawn Denne, Southampton Academy head coach. &uot;Her only problem with softball is her confidence. She always wants to bunt because she’s a very good bunter. In a few other games she’s come up with some key hits when’s she is asking me if she can bunt.&uot;

IWA, a perennial playoff team and former state champion, brought its experience to the seventh inning. Needing at least one run to keep the game going, J.J. Edwards led off the inning with a walk and moved to second on a wild pitch. Katie Morris’ sacrifice bunt moved Edwards to third. IWA coach Jack Reynolds had his third-place hitter, Casey West, bunt, and the hunch worked. The speedster beat out the bunt and at the same time drove in Edwards with the tying run.

&uot;Casey is quick. She’s a good bunter and a good hitter. From a defensive standpoint, you don’t know what she’s going to do,&uot; Reynolds said. &uot;It looked like they thought she was going to hit the ball. She can back the infielders up. She just put it in the right spot.&uot;

Mansfield popped up for the second out. Major followed with a bloop single to center, just under the glove of centerfielder Nicole Reedy, to drive in West with the winning run.

SA opened the game with a three-run first inning, which included RBI singles by Fretts and Catherine Glover.

IWA answered with three runs in the first inning, including a two-run triple by Mansfield and an RBI double by Major. The Lady Chargers added two more runs in the second, including an RBI single by Katie Morris. Morris, West and Major were 2-for-4, and Raleigh Dowd was 2-for-3 for IWA.

Fretts was 3-for-4 for and Glover was 2-for-4 for SA.