Bravo, Longwood and Farmville!

Published 12:44 pm Thursday, April 19, 2018

Back in October 2016, we used this space to congratulate many of the people and organizations in and around the town that made that year’s lone U.S. Vice Presidential Debate a rousing success. The debate, hosted by Longwood University, drew the eyes of the nation to Farmville, and we noted that it was one of the biggest single-day events in Farmville’s history.

On April 8, the eyes of the nation were again drawn to Farmville, this time within the context of athletics. Longwood’s softball team hosted Liberty University at Lancer Field in the first-ever nationally televised sporting event in the town. The regular season showdown between the top two teams in the Big South Conference saw airtime on both ESPNU and ESPNews.

It was the tremendous success of Head Coach Kathy Riley’s Longwood softball program that created the opportunity, and we want to congratulate her and the team for that.

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We also want to highlight them and the people of Farmville for making another national event here a rousing success.

The Lancers shone in the spotlight, putting together the pitch-perfect ending to their three-game series against the Flames, who were undefeated in the Big South before the series. With her team down 2-0 April 8, Longwood junior Kaylynn Batten hit a solo home run in the bottom of the fourth inning, and then redshirt junior Karleigh Donovan hit a go-ahead two-run homer in the bottom of the sixth. Freshman Sydney Backstrom pitched three scoreless innings to close the game, which Longwood won 3-2 to clinch the three-game series, two games to one.

The game showcased the hallmarks of Riley’s program — mental toughness, discipline, exceptional skill and success.

And the Farmville community helped create the ideal environment in which all of those qualities could flourish. Fans packed the stands and lined the hill beyond the outfield, which borders South Main Street. Donovan said the contest felt like the Big South Championship game, and Riley called it one of the best — if not THE best — regular-season game environments.

No one tuning in could miss the outstanding nature of both the Lancers and their Farmville fanbase.

Bravo, bravo to one and all!