By Randy Arrington
SHENANDOAH, May 17 — With a final Bull Run District record of 12-2, the Page County Panthers captured the regular season district title in softball on Tuesday with a 4-2 win over Strasburg.
Savannah Shifflett seemed to be the only Panther to find success at the plate, as the sophomore belted three of the team’s four hits on the day and knocked in three of Page’s four runs. Shifflett put the first runs of the game on the scoreboard in the bottom of the second inning with a double that brought in senior Taylor Umberger and senior Kadence Rhinehart.
Umberger, committed to play softball at Eastern Mennonite University next spring, reached base with the Panther’s only other hit of the game. Shifflett scored Umberger again in the sixth off a single. Page’s final run was scored off a dropped ball at home plate.
Starsburg mustered two runs in the third inning to tie the game up at 2-2 until the sixth. The Rams had five hits on the day, all singles spread out among five players. However, it was sophomore Kiersten Wiseley’s single in the third that scored both of the Rams’ runs.
On the mound, Page’s Bailee Gaskins went the distance through seven innings and got the win, allowing two runs off five hits and one error, while walking one and striking out eight.
While the Panthers were able to pull out the district-clinching win, it proved a lot more difficult than their last meeting with the Rams on April 14, when Page easily recorded a 16-0 win on the road at Strasburg.
With the win, the Panthers (13-7 overall) clinched the Bull Run District regular season title and will now be the top seed, hosting the quarterfinal round of the district tournament on Tuesday. Their opponent will be eighth-seeded Mountain View (0-13 Bull Run, 2-15 overall), who the Panthers have beaten twice — 18-5 on April 29, and 23-2 on March 29.
With the loss, the Rams (5-12 overall, 3-10 Bull Run) are potentially looking at the No. 7 seed in the district tournament, but Strasburg still has one game left and will host Central at 6 p.m. on Friday. Strasburg will likely travel to either Clarke or East Rockingham in the district quarterfinal on Tuesday.
One day prior to its regular season finale, Page County defeated East Rockingham 7-1 on Monday. Senior Kirsten Hensley went 3-for-3 on the day, with two home runs and five RBI. Gaskins again went the distance on the mound, giving up only one run off four hits, while walking one and striking out seven. Freshman Karleigh Austin also recorded three hits during Monday’s rivalry game.
Depending on how Friday’s games play out, Clarke and East Rockingham are battling for the No. 2 and 3 seeds in next week’s district tournament, while Central is fairly locked into the No. 4 slot. Madison and Rappahannock are lining up for either the No. 5 or No. 6 seed.
Page, Clarke, East Rock and Central will likely host quarterfinal round games on Tuesday, while Madison, Rapp, Strasburg and Mt. View will likely travel.
For full schedules, rosters and standings — check out the Bull Run District website.