By Randy Arrington
SHENANDOAH, June 7 — In only four-and-a-half innings, the Page County Panthers routed the Cougars of Nottoway County, 14-0, in a VHSL Class 2 state quarterfinal on Tuesday afternoon.
Through more than an hour of on-and-off rain (mostly on), the Panthers racked up four runs in each of the first three innings and tacked on two more in the fourth. Although the 10-run slaughter rule does not apply to state playoff games, the game was called in the middle of the fifth because of Page’s 14-run lead and the constant precipitation that fell throughout most of the game.
Page spread out 14 hits among nine players during the game, while playing flawless defense. Junior first baseman Jocelyn Rinker went a perfect 3-for-3 in the state semifinal, including a three-run home run in the third and a total of four RBI on the day. Sophomore pitcher Bailee Gaskins belted a two-run home run of her own and also knocked in a total of four runs during the game while going 2-for-3 at the plate.
Senior Marissa Monger recorded an inside-the-park home run in the second inning when her fly ball to left field tailed toward the line and caught the left fielder off balance in the wet grass. The center fielder was forced to come over and retrieve the ball from the corner, allowing the speedy Monger enough time to make the round trip. The senior went 2-for-3 on the day — as did feshman Karleigh Austin, who recorded one of the Panthers’ four doubles in the game.
Junior Alexis Frymyer came off the bench to pinch hit in the fourth and belted a two-run double that proved to be the last runs of the game. The Cougars could only muster two hits, but left six runners on base. The Panthers left five.
Gaskins got the win on the mound, recording a two-hit shutout. The sophomore walked four and struck out four.
Page County (18-7) will now travel to the Moyer Complex in Salem this Friday for a 1 p.m. state semifinal at the VHSL 2022 Spring Jubliee. This weekend’s Jubilee in Salem will feature “final four” state playoffs in baseball, softball, soccer and tennis. Softball state semifinals will take place at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Friday, June 10, with the VHSL Class 2 state softball championship slated for 10 a.m. Saturday, June 11.
CLASS 2 – STATE QUARTERFINAL RESULTS
• Appomattox 5, Tazewell 0
• Randolph-Henry 7, East Rockingham 0
• Dan River 7, Central Wise 1
• Page County 14, Nottoway 0
CLASS 2 – STATE SEMIFINAL MATCHUPS
• 10 a.m. Friday, June 10 — Region A champ Randolph-Henry (22-2) v. Region C champ Appomattox (22-0)
• 1 p.m. Friday, June 10 — Region B champ Page County (18-7) v. Region C runner-up Dan River (19-3)
Tickets for state playoff games must be purchased online through the Virginia High School League. Cost is $10 per ticket, plus a $1.50 service charge.
Tickets will NOT be sold at the gate during the state tournament.
For full schedules, rosters and standings — check out the Bull Run District website.