LGS Debs end state run with 2-2 record

Published 12:10 pm Wednesday, July 25, 2018

The Lunenburg Girls’ Softball (LGS) Debs All-Star team was eliminated from the 2018 Virginia Dixie Softball Debs State Tournament on July 17, but not before it proved competitive against the best teams in Virginia.

Finishing with a record of 2-2 in the Farmville-hosted tourney, the LGS Debs’ losses came against the state runner-up and the now three-time defending state champion.

After falling to the Clarksville All-Star team 13-12 in extra innings July 16, Lunenburg faced the Prince Edward-Farmville Youth Association (PEFYA) All- Stars on July 17. PEFYA opened up an 11-1 lead through the first four innings, but then the LGS All-Stars came storming back.

Riley Jones hit a two-run home run in the fifth inning, and Josie Epperson hit a three-run homer in the sixth to help make the score 11-7, turning a blowout into a compelling showdown between central Virginia squads. But Prince Edward-Farmville was able to keep rolling on offense, and the game came to an early conclusion when PEFYA’s Shauneice Beasley hit a two-run homer to bring the mercy rule into effect with a final score of 17-7.

“We started slow, but we came back strong,” LGS Debs Manager Charles Berkley said. “I wish we could have started the game the way we finished the game — we would have been a whole lot better off. We were running out of gas and running out of pitching.”

Jones pitched the first two innings of the game, and Lydia Wrenn pitched the last five. Both Jones and Wrenn were standouts in the circle for Lunenburg throughout the tourney.

After getting the bye July 13, the LGS All-Stars opened their state play July 14 with a 17-5 rout of the Blackstone All-Star team.

The next day, Lunenburg won 9-7 against the Powhatan National All-Stars, the only team to defeat PEFYA at the state level in the past three years, as they had defeated the host team 20-8 on July 14.

Lunenburg’s elimination was momentous not only because it signaled the end of the summer for the team but also because it meant the end of Dixie Softball for four different LGS players: Carrie Bailey, Brittany Dolan, Ellie Richmond and Lydia Wrenn.

“Taylor Berkley, Josie Epperson and Riley Jones have one more year, and then everybody else has at least two more years,” Manager Berkley said.

He also noted another key conclusion.

“I expect this is probably the last hurrah for me,” he said, as a coach. “I’ve been doing this with this group since 2004, so this is probably my last year, but it’s a been a pleasure.”

Reflecting on the experience, he said, “These girls are just like daughters to me, and we have a real close bond.”