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State honors for Lady Falcons

It is fitting that Fuqua School’s varsity softball team members were well-represented among the Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association (VISAA) Division III all-state honorees after the Lady Falcons made their run to the state championship game and finished the year 15-4 overall.

Four Fuqua players were selected to the all-state first team, including senior infielder Mary Grace Amos, junior outfielder Alexa Marzloff, freshman catcher Carmen Reynolds and sophomore pitcher Regan Ware.

Lady Falcons sophomore Madelyn Bickford made the all-state second team.

Of his team’s all-state representation, Fuqua Head Coach Mike Ford said, “I think it was fair. I think we had several other players right there on the brink.”

After being out last year due to an injured elbow and the surgery needed to repair it, Ware turned in an impressive performance this year both in the circle and at the plate.

“I felt Regan should have been Player of the Year,” Ford said. “It’s my personal, biased opinion, of course, but I felt she was the most dominant single player in the whole division that we played (in).”

All season long, she suffered only two losses as a pitcher.

At the end of the regular season, Ford submitted his players’ statistical totals to represent them for possible all-state selection.

Ware finished the regular season with 74 strikeouts.

On offense, “She batted like .487,” Ford said. “I think she had 11 doubles, a couple triples, eight stolen bases. I think she scored about 19 runs and drove in 21, I think. She had a real good year.”

Addressing what helped Ware to be so dominant, Ford pointed to her all-around athleticism.

“In softball terms, she’s athletic for her size,” he said, adding that she grew as a player — mentally and physically — as the year wore on, with her skills obviously improving as well. “She’s learned how to relax and play and kind of work through some tough situations.”

Amos, who has signed to play for Randolph-Macon College, was a standout on both sides of the ball for the Lady Falcons.

Ford estimated that she led the team with four home runs.

“She batted about .380, and I want to say she had about 10 doubles,” he said, also noting that she had at least 21 RBIs. “She had a lot of key hits in some big wins for us.”

He also praised her as an excellent defensive player.

“She actually finished the season playing shortstop,” Ford said.

This was after Amos spent most of the season at the key position of first base.

It was easy for Ford to sum up why Marzloff received her all-state first team honor.

“She got it because of her batting average and how many runs she scored,” he said.

For the regular season, she had a remarkable .581 batting average and scored 26 runs.

To produce an average like that, she hit with remarkable consistency and demonstrated humility in the process.

“I think at one stretch, she was on a 12-for-16 stretch,” Ford said. “I said, ‘Lex, you’ve got 12 hits in your last 16 at-bats.’ She said, ‘Is that good?’ I said, ‘Yeah, that’s pretty good.’”

He added that she just said, “OK,” smiled and went about her business.

A left-handed hitter — or slapper — batting second in the lineup, “she was a key table-setter for us through the course of the season,” Ford said.

Reynolds’ strength helped propel her into the rare position of being a freshman all-state first team member.

“She was as good a defensive catcher as I saw the whole season,” Ford said, noting that she had a strong arm and a quick release.

He did not know her total of putouts, but he said, “Not many people stole on her, I know that. Let me put it this way — we stole a lot more bases than the teams we played against stole against us.”

On offense, “She hit .345, and she had a couple home runs, eight doubles and drove in about 18, 19 runs,” Ford said.

The coach said he was proud of Bickford for making the second team.

“Madelyn had some big games for us,” he said.

She is part of a strong returning group of which he is expecting big things next season.

“I think we’re going to be better when we start practice next year than how we ended this year,” he said. “As a team, we have a great upside.”