Alan Leonard shares these photos from Glenvar High School’s close loss in the state quarterfinals vs. John Battle on Tuesday.
Here’s the full story of the game from George Stone, Bristol Herald Courier. (It ran in the Roanoke Times on Wednesday):
BRISTOL — Abby Hensley’s hard-hit infield ground ball with one out in the ninth inning scored Tristan Blevins, and John Battle eliminated Glenvar from the VHSL Group A Division 2 softball tournament with a 1-0 win in the quarterfinals Tuesday.
The game had a trend going with zeroes through 81/2 innings as Glenvar’s Cara Neikirk and John Battle’s Kara Rutherford, with some outstanding defensive help, were both getting the job done from the circle.
But it all came to a halt in the bottom of the ninth.
After having scoring opportunities thwarted by Glenvar double plays in both the seventh and eighth innings, Blevins led off the ninth with a sharp single to center field. Kara Rutherford followed with her second single before being lifted for pinch runner Katie Davis.
With runners at first and second, Sara Beth Weaver advanced both with a ground-out to shortstop Kayla DeHart.
Abby Hensley, who had already singled and reached on a walk, hit a sharp grounder to the right of DeHart, who dove to knock the ball down but had no play as Blevins crossed the plate with the winning run for Battle (24-3), which will play Stuarts Draft at 10 a.m. Friday at the Moyer Sports Complex in Salem.
“We played good, but they played better,” Glenvar coach Mike East said. “[There was] nothing [DeHart] could have done on that [last] ball. She had to dive to reach it. She had no play.”
The Highlanders (19-8) were limited to three hits, two in the first inning, against Rutherford. She walked one, struck out seven and retired the last 17 batters she faced.
“Their pitcher was basically throwing the fastball and moving it around to where we couldn’t hit it,” East said. “She appeared to be as strong in the ninth inning as she was in the early part of the game.”
Neikirk gave up 11 hits, but only walked one and struck out two. East Newkirk’s teammates were also there to back her up all day.
“We played outstanding defense,” East said. “And [third baseman Alyssa Blankenship] had the game of her life.”
In the top of the first inning, DeHart led off with a single for Glenvar but was thrown out trying to stretch it into a double, and Megan Ward had a bloop single to center.
Ward led off the fourth with a double but was caught in a double play when Kelsey Meador lined out to the pitcher.
“We tried to force a few things on the bases and got a few runners thrown out.” East said.