By Randy Arrington
SHENANDOAH, May 19 — The Page County Panthers captured the regular season Bull Run District title on Friday with an offensive blast in the bottom of the seventh to squeak out a walk-off 4-3 win over the Eagles of East Rockingham. The Panthers played from behind until their final at-bat when they put together four hits and three runs to capture their 10th consecutive win.
The last time that Page County lost was on April 18 — 7-1, at East Rockingham. The Eagles were the only team to post a district win over the Panthers, and the only team, other than a solid Class 3 squad at Turner Ashby, to defeat Page this season.
The win puts the Panthers at 17-3 overall and ranked 7th in Class 2 in Virginia softball by MaxPreps.com Potential Region B foe Stuarts Draft (16-5) comes in at No. 10, while Strasburg (14-6) appears at No. 12 and East Rockingham (14-5) sits at No. 13.
The Top 7 in VHSL Class 2 softball look like this:
- #1 — Randolph-Henry (19-1)
- #2 — James River (19-1)
- #3 — Appomattox (19-1)
- #4 — King William (20-2)
- #5 — Gate City (18-2)
- #6 — Arcadia (18-3)
- #7 — Page County (17-3)
The Bull Run District Tournament kicks off the postseason on Monday, May 22 with the following matchups:
- #8 Mountain View (2-16) @ #1 Page County (17-3)
- #7 Rappahannock (2-13) @ #2 East Rockingham (14-5)
- #6 Madison County (5-12) @ #3 Clarke County (10-8)
- #5 Central of Woodstock (11-9) @ #4 Strasburg (14-6)
The Bull Run semifinals will be played on Tuesday, May 23 with the finals on Thursday, May 25. The Region B tournament will be played the following week, with the tournament champion and the runner-up advancing to the VHSL Class 2 state tournament.
The stage was set for Friday’s regular season finale between two teams locked at 12-1 in the district — the winner receiving the regular season title and the No. 1 seed in the Bull Run tournament. East Rockingham came into the road game fresh off a 7-6 home win over Clarke and the confidence of a 7-1 victory over the Panthers one month ago.
After three scoreless innings, the Eagles posted a run in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings. Two of those runs were unearned, coming off an error in the outfield and a wild pitch. However, East Rock recorded eight hits in those three innings and stranded four runners.
Page cut into the three-run deficit in the bottom of the sixth, as junior Arianna Roudabush opened up with a double, followed by an RBI-double from Radford-bound senior Jocelyn Rinker.
In the bottom of the seventh, trailing by two, the Panthers opened their final at-bat with three consecutive hits after only mustering four in the first six innings. Junior Emme Baugher started off with a double, followed by an RBI-single from junior Savannah Shifflett and another single from sophomore Karleigh Austin.
After a walk to freshman Ali Purdham, junior Adryn Martin hit an RBI-single to center field that tied the game. Roudabush then came to the plate as the sixth Page batter in the bottom of the seventh, with no outs on the board, and the bases loaded. The junior’s sacrifice fly allowed Austin to tag up and score the winning run in walk-off fashion, 4-3.
Page chalked up eight hits and was lead by Baugher, who went 2-for-3 with a double.
East Rock has been one of the most effective offensive teams this season against Page right-hander Bailee Gaskins, who has recorded seven shutouts, a perfect game and around 160 strikeouts this season. The Eagles put up 10 hits against Gaskins. Both teams played solid defense — only committing one error each.
The Eagles were lead offensively by senior Madison Arbaugh, who also handled the pitching duties. Arbaugh went 3-for-4 at the plate with a double — inside the circle, the senior only allowed Page one run and four hits until their last at-bat.
For full schedules, rosters and standings — check out the Bull Run District website.
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