~ Athlete of the Week selected by the publisher
Each time the Page County Panthers escaped an inning without allowing a run in the Class 2 state championship on Saturday, sophomore Bailee Gaskins came off the field screaming (as seen above). While there were dozens of people at the Moyer Sports Complex in Salem pulling for the Panthers to bring home a state title, there was probably no one in the stadium that wanted to win more than Gaskins.
The sophomore sensation wins this week’s “Athlete of the Week” spotlight in large part due to her Panther spirit and enthusiasm, always lifting up her teammates regardless of the situation. The Panthers had to come from behind to win three playoff games, but they couldn’t overcome the reigning state champs from Appomattox.
As a sophomore — in the biggest game of her life — Gaskins went toe-to-toe with the No. 1 pitcher in Virginia’s Class 2 softball, Appomattox’s Courtney Layne, who is a Division I commit to the University of Virginia. Layne pitched a perfect game in the state championship and the state semifinal, as well as last year’s state championship.
For her part, Gaskins held the top-ranked team in the state scoreless through six innings. For the game, she allowed only one earned run on four hits in the state championship. Through three games in the state tournament, Gaskins struck out 17 batters and only allowed a total of three runs.
In the state quarterfinal against Nottoway, Gaskins went 2-for-3 at the plate with four RBI — including a two-run home run — while also hurling a two-hit shutout.
For full schedules, rosters and standings — check out the Bull Run District website.