Lady Falcons show growth on diamond

Published 1:44 pm Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The 2016 Fuqua School varsity softball team may have had an overall record similar to last year’s squad, but the Lady Falcons demonstrated important growth this season nonetheless.

They earned the three seed in the state tournament and advanced in the postseason as far as the Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association Division III state semifinals, falling 4-3 to second-seeded Kenston Forest on Thursday at the Dinwiddie Sports Complex.

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“I think we fought hard all the way to the end,” Fuqua Head Coach LaDonia Mujahid said. “Could have been a lot worse, but this is our best defensive effort all year, and coming back, the girls, we didn’t let down, we stayed up, and it was a good overall team effort. …”

Junior Mary Grace Amos gave the Lady Falcons a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning with a home run to centerfield, but then the Lady Kavaliers responded with all four of their runs in the bottom of the first.

“We just kind of got maybe a little bit behind in some counts, and they came out swinging the bats, as usual,” Mujahid said. “They have good sticks just like we have good sticks. They got a hit and another hit, and then we had bases loaded, and then we had the fly ball that we didn’t actually make a play on, so that scored the first run, and we just fell apart just a little bit, but we came back, came back strong.”

Sophomore Hannah Gray Schmidt made contact with the ball in the fourth to bring home freshman Virginia Haney, and Haney doubled in the sixth to score her sister, junior Katie Haney.

“I think as the season went on, we started to get stronger and a better mindset of if we fall down in games, we could always have the potential and we have the team and the place to come back,” Mujahid said. “This is a different mindset from what they had at the beginning, so that’s really good, possibly, hopefully, building onto next year.”

Though Mujahid and the Lady Falcons did not want the season to end the way it did, the coach noted her team’s finish was an improvement on last year, when the Lady Falcons saw their season end in the state quarterfinals at the hands of Kenston Forest.

“Going from the beginning all the way to the end, I think we did well, and an 8-8 season (is) not bad,” Mujahid said, referring to her team’s record this year. “It’s .500. Last year was 7-7, still .500, but I think I would look forward to possibly a better season next year.”

Fuqua will lose Taylor Frink to graduation but should return most of its 2016 roster next year.