~ PVN staff report
After picking up wins in Wednesday’s semifinals, both the Page County High School softball team and the Luray High School girls soccer team will be playing for a Region B championship this Friday. With Wednesday’s victories, each team also secured a spot in next week’s VHSL Class 2 state tournament in their respective sports.
SHENANDOAH, June 1 — In one of the most thrilling games of the spring season, the top-seeded Page County Panthers came from behind to capture a 3-2, walk-off win over #4 Clarke County in a Region B semifinal on Wednesday.
The Eagles jumped on the board first, posting two earned runs off three hits in the top of the first inning. It would prove to be the only time during the game that Clarke could string together back-to-back hits, and it would be their only runs of the game.
The Panthers stranded six runners in the first three innings, including three in the third, but mustered one run in the third off an RBI-single from sophomore Bailee Gaskins. The score would remain 2-1 in favor of Clarke until Page County’s final at-bat.
After escaping a bases-loaded situation in the top of the seventh without allowing the Eagles to score, the Panthers came within two outs of ending their season in the bottom half of the inning. At that point, junior Jocelyne Rinker belted a double that drove in senior Marissa Monger and tied the game at 2-2.
The “hero of the day” became senior Kirsten Hensley who then hit a single to left field that drove in senior pinch runner Kiara Yorro for the winning run — giving Page its first lead of the game and saving the softball season for Panthers.
The semifinal matchup was truly a hard-fought contest, with both teams playing nearly flawless defense while recording eight hits each and both leaving eight runners on base during the game.
Rinker lead the Panthers at the plate, going 2-for-4 with two doubles and providing the RBI that tied the game. Senior Taylor Umberger went 2-for-3, including a double, while both Gaskins and Hensley each went 1-for-3 with one RBI, including Hensley’s game winner.
Gaskins picked up the win on the mound. The sophomore went the distance through seven and only allowed two earned runs off eight hits, while walking two and striking out seven.
Top-seeded Page County (16-7) now advances to the Region B championship and will host #2 East Rockingham (18-6) on Friday, June 3 (time TBD, likely 5 p.m.).
The two district rivals split the regular season with each team winning their home game — the Eagles 10-9 on April 19, and the Panthers 7-1 on May 16. The two teams were scheduled to square off for a Bull Run District tournament championship last week, but the contest was canceled due to weather and field conditions. East Rock advanced to the Region B championship after defeating #3 Buckingham, 11-1.
Regardless of Friday’s outcome, both Page and East Rock advance to the VHSL Class 2 state softball tournament, which begins on Tuesday, June 7.
LURAY, June 1 — Another match on the pitch, another win, same formula — play aggressive offense, keep the ball on the opponent’s side of the field, and take more shots on goal. Couple that with great teamwork, a solid keeper in junior Trinity Hasse and scoring phenoms like senior Emilee Weakley and sophomore Hazel Parlett, and the Luray Bulldogs have been almost unstoppable this season…almost.
The #2 Bulldogs moved to 16-3 on the season and advanced to Friday’s Region B championship after defeating #3 Strasburg, 2-0, in Wednesday’s semifinal.
Luray scored both goals in the first half and held the Rams in check for 80 minutes. Both teams played strong defense around the net with a number of “close calls” diverted at both ends of the field — including two Ram shots that hit the top bar. Luray had 23 shots on goal, compared to nine for Strasburg.
Second-seeded Luray (16-3) will now travel to #1 Clarke County (20-0) for the Region B title match on Friday at 7 p.m.
The Eagles have been the only team in the region to defeat the Bulldogs, handing them two of their three losses on the season. However, Luray saw a great improvement between its 8-0 loss at Berryville on April 20 and its more narrow 3-1 loss to the Eagles at home one month later. The two teams were scheduled to square off for a Bull Run District tournament championship last week, but the contest was canceled due to weather and field conditions.
Regardless of Friday’s outcome, Luray will advance to the VHSL Class 2 state girls soccer tournament, which begins on Tuesday, June 7.
For full schedules, rosters and standings — check out the Bull Run District website.