Kavs find much success, if not all

Published 8:11 am Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The outcome of the 2016 Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association (VISAA) Division III state softball championship brought Kenston Forest an unwanted feeling of déjà vu, but the Lady Kavaliers put together a season full of accomplishments they hope to repeat and build upon.

Southampton Academy defeated Kenston Forest in the state title game for the second straight year, this time by a 6-2 score at the Dinwiddie Sports Complex on Friday.

Though they fell short of their goal to win the title, the Lady Kavaliers went 19-11 and received accolades that made it clear they are both a team of the present and the future.

“I think they performed so well,” Kenston Forest Head Coach Jannon Coley said as she reflected on the season as a whole.

Lady Kavaliers senior shortstop Brooke Mason was named the VISAA Division III State Softball Player of the Year, as well as the Virginia Colonial Conference (VCC) Softball Player of the Year.

In 28 games and a team-high 99 at-bats, Mason led Kenston Forest with a .495 batting average, .797 slugging percentage, 49 hits, 40 runs scored and four triples, and she tied for the team lead in doubles, with 10, and home runs, with four. She also led the team with 18 stolen bases.

“She’s very competitive,” Coley said. “(She’s) just a great athlete, all in all, so I think all that had something to do (with her receiving the Player of the Year honors).”

Mason, who will be playing softball for Roanoke College next year, was joined on the all-state and all-conference first teams by three of her teammates: junior pitcher Lydia Wrenn, junior catcher Mackenzie Coley and junior third baseman/pitcher Savannah Gunn.

Mackenzie Coley also made the VCC all-academic team.

Junior center fielder/left fielder Rebecca Hadley made the all-state and all-conference second teams, and second baseman Haley Henshaw, an eighth-grader, was named to the all-conference second team.

During the regular season, “we were actually undefeated in the conference,” Jannon Coley said. “We had beaten (Southampton) twice before, and came through and went to the (conference tournament) championship game and lost out.”

On Friday, the Lady Raiders scored five of their six runs in the first inning.

Southampton finished the game with 10 hits and one error, while Kenston Forest had six hits and no errors.

“That hurts when you come in there from five runs (down) trying to catch back up, but yeah, we just couldn’t quite get the bats working,” Coley said.

The Lady Kavaliers managed to create some momentum in the fourth inning when they scored two runs.

For the game, they were led on offense by Gunn, who went 2-for-3, while Hadley, Mason, Wrenn and sophomore Cassie Beane had one hit apiece.

Kenston Forest beat Westover Christian 10-0 in the state quarterfinals and Fuqua School 4-3 in the semifinals to reach the state final.

Coley, who just finished her first year as Lady Kavs head coach, said the team’s prospects were unclear going into the season.

“I only really had one pitcher, and it was a girl who hadn’t pitched in two years, so I had to go to her over winter and ask her if she’d pitch for me, which was Lydia Wrenn, and she did,” Coley said. “I was very proud of them. They had a great season. And you know what? I do believe they’ll be (in the state and conference title games) next year — no doubt in my mind.”

The Lady Kavaliers won the state title 2011-14, and they graduate only one player from this year’s team.