Warriors win second straight title

Published 7:58 am Wednesday, May 19, 2010

PETERSBURG—It’s rare to have a twice in a lifetime experience.

But for Tidewater Academy softball coach Brent Lowe, that’s just fine with him.

For the second straight year, the Warriors have won the Virginia Independent School Division III championship on Friday at the Petersburg Sports Complex. Tidewater Academy edged Kenston Forest 7-4.

“Both teams were ready to play, but you could tell that both were a little nervous too,” said Lowe, who is in his fifth season. “I’ve got some scrappy girls here. It was important for us to answer that bell when we fell behind, and we did.”

Kenston Forest was the first to score as Hayley Pierce laid down a sacrifice bunt allowing Hannah Haynes (walked) to score.

But Tidewater quickly answered back scoring four runs of its own.

Leadoff hitter Marianna Stephenson knocked the inning off with a bang as she belted a solo home run over the center field wall.

Then three batters later, Taylor Warner drove a 2-RBI double to center bringing in Samantha Spain (walk) and Hayes Holdsworth (single) for the 3-1 lead.

Samantha Frazier then grounded a ball to second that brought in Warner for the 4-1 edge.

“These girls are so dedicated, they play nine months out of the year. We come from a small school where all of them play another sport so you can tell they’ve been waiting for another chance to get a state title,” Lowe said.

Later in the second, the Kavaliers caught another wind of life as Haynes ripped a 2-RBI double to right field allowing Wilhelm (single) and Heather Cumbea to score. This cut the lead to 4-3.

But similar to the first, the Warriors came back with another vengeance with two more runs.

Stephenson led off the inning with a single. For the night, the junior went 4-for-4 with a home run and three singles.

Then Spain hit a bullet near the third baseline which looked to be going foul but the Kenston Forest’s third baseman played the ball.

The Kavaliers’ Savannah Baner then overthrew second base allowing Stephenson and Spain to run through all of the bases. The Warriors led 6-3.

“Marianna is a go-getter, she will fight you tooth and nail,” Lowe said. “We’ve got a great hitting team.”

Then in the fourth, the Kavaliers picked up a fourth run as a throw to first by the shortstop allowed Wilhelm to score.

Within that inning, Tidewater made a pitching change from Hayes Holdsworth to Taylor Warner.

Later in the bottom of the fourth, the home team scored its final run of the night with a passed ball. The run brought in Stephenson, who got a single early on in the inning.

Kenston Forest tried to fight back but both the pitching and defense by Tidewater Academy was too much.

“We’ve faced Kenston Forest twice this season and we split so I have nothing but the utmost praise for their team,” Lowe said. “We know we’ve done well when we can get the win. We knew it was going to be a battle.”

For the Warriors, two seniors have left an incredible mark on the program as Holdsworth will play collegiate softball at Charleston Southern and Jordan Clarke at Campbell University.