A familiar finish

Published 1:44 pm Wednesday, June 13, 2018

The 2018 season had a familiar feeling for Central High School’s varsity softball team as it was once again a winning one, but the Lady Chargers were hoping for a less familiar finish. Like last year, their campaign came to a close in the regional semifinals.

Central went 11-7 during the 2018 regular season, securing a No. 1 seed in the Region 1B tournament and a first-round bye. The Lady Chargers hosted No. 4 Riverheads High School in the semifinals on May 31 and lost 4-0.

“They’re much better than a four seed,” Central Head Coach Karen McGrath said of the Lady Gladiators, who went on to win the regional title, routing host No. 2 Rappahannock County High School 12-1 on June 1.

McGrath said her team was not able to generate offense.

“We made some great defensive plays that got us out of binds,” she said. “When we had bases loaded, we had a double play. But when we don’t hit, then it puts more pressure on defense. The first two runs shouldn’t have happened, but it just did, just some bobbled balls and different things. But just the hitting — it came down to hitting.”

The Lady Gladiators out-hit Central 5-2. Riverheads’ pitcher finished with 11 strikeouts. Lady Chargers senior pitcher Hailey Bayne had five. Riverheads left nine runners on base, while Central left one.

The Lady Chargers were eliminated in last year’s regional semifinals by visiting Luray High School on the same day, May 31.

“Our goal every year is to increase by one game, get better, but came up short this year, didn’t meet our goal,” McGrath said.

But this disappointment did not sour her perspective on the year as a whole.

“We had a great season,” she said of her 11-8 squad. “We really did. A really good season. I’m proud of the girls. We have three graduating, so we’re going to miss them.”

Those girls include Bayne, center fielder Kaylee Williams and second baseman Brittany Tomlinson.

McGrath noted those are “tough spots to fill.”

As for who will inhabit the circle moving forward, “We have a couple of girls that I think are going to be able to help us next year,” she said.