By Randy Arrington
SHENANDOAH, June 15 — The top-seeded Page County High School softball team advanced to the Region 2B championship on Thursday, after a 10-0, slaughter-rule victory over visiting Clarke County Tuesday afternoon.
Bull Run District “Player of the Year” Taylor Hankins continued to dominate from the circle in the region semifinal. The senior hurler went the distance in a shutout performance through five innings, allowing only three hits while striking out 11 and walking only one. Hankins also helped her cause at the plate, going 2-for-4 with one RBI and one run scored. One of her two hits and her only RBI came in the fifth to end the game.
The Panthers batted through the lineup in the first inning and took a 5-0 lead on four hits and two Eagle errors. Page would add two more runs in the third and fourth innings, before closing out a quick five-inning decision with the game-ending 10th run in the bottom of the fifth.
Page had 10 hits in Tuesday’s semifinal. Junior Kirsten Hensley went a perfect 2-for-2. Junior Taylor Umberger went 2-for-3 at the plate, while seniors Maddie Gordon and Hankins went 2-for-4. Both Gordon and junior Marissa Monger had 2 RBI for the game.
Page defeated Clarke (8-5) by a much closer 4-1 margin in their regular season finale on June 7. In that game, Hankins also picked up the win with 11 Ks, while only allowing one run on two hits and giving up no walks. Page scored their four runs on seven hits, as Umberger and sophomore Jocelyne Rinker went 2-for-4.
The Panthers (13-0) will host Buffalo Gap (9-3) for the Region 2B championship at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday. The second-seeded Bison also won their semifinal round by the slaughter rule, 10-0, over third-seeded East Rockingham on Tuesday. Gap’s three losses came in season splits with three Shenandoah District rivals — Stuarts Draft, Fort Defiance and Riverheads.
Admission to Thursday’s region championship is $5. However, if the Panthers advance, those who wish to attend the state tournament next week will need to secure their tickets online in advance at the VHSL website. TICKETS WILL NOT BE SOLD AT THE GATE FOR NEXT WEEK’S STATE TOURNAMENT.
For scores, schedules, rosters and standings — check out the Bull Run District website.