Enjoying hard work’s payoff

Published 10:03 am Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Lady Falcons stage blowouts in state semifinal and final to win title

It was an unusual final day of the 2018 season for Fuqua School’s varsity softball team Monday, but in the best of ways. And it was an unusual day the girls had earned.

Across both games they played, the Lady Falcons outscored their competition 26-4, and the games they were playing in were the most important of all — a state semifinal and the state championship itself.

Opening the day at 1 p.m. with a rematch of last year’s Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association (VISAA) Division III state final, No. 2-seeded Fuqua ensured they would not fall to Southampton Academy this time, routing the No. 3 Lady Raiders 9-2.

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With only about 20 minutes rest, the Lady Falcons began the state championship game against No. 4 Kenston Forest School, which had upset No. 1 Brunswick Academy 5-4 in its semifinal.

Fuqua had faced the Lady Kavaliers twice during the regular season, winning 4-1 and 8-1, but Monday’s game was not nearly as close.

The Lady Falcons went up 4-0 after the first inning, 10-0 after the second and 15-0 after the third, finishing with a 17-2 victory and the 2018 VISAA Division III state championship.

Fuqua Head Coach Mike Ford noted how his team’s title run was forged through navigating a difficult regular season schedule and a resolve to avoid a repeat of last year’s finish. The combination led to a dominant finish for the Lady Falcons this season.

“I think we were a little more confident, and honestly, I think our schedule that we played prepared us for this a whole lot better,” Ford said. “I felt we were very well prepared for today, and the bats came alive. I was real happy, had a lot of big swings.”

Last year, Fuqua fell 3-1 to Southampton Academy in the state final.

“We talked about the feeling last year when we came in second, and we didn’t want to do that again,” Ford said. “We had to go get it and then went and got it, so I was real proud of them.”

In Monday’s title game, the Lady Falcons out-hit young Kenston Forest 14-7.

Fuqua junior Brittany Malone went 3-for-3 with four RBIs and two runs scored. Sophomore Carmen Reynolds went 3-for-4 with two RBIs and a run scored. Junior Madelyn Bickford went 2-for-4 with two RBIs and a run scored. Sophomore Abbie Schmidt had two RBIs and three runs scored. Junior Virginia Haney went 2-for-5 with an RBI and a run scored. Junior Regan Ware contributed a hit and two RBIs.

Also scoring two runs apiece were senior Alexa Marzloff, junior Hannah-Gray Schmidt and senior Jordyn Harris.

In the victory over the Lady Raiders, Fuqua won the hitting battle 12-6.

Leading the way for the Lady Falcons was Marzloff, who went 3-for-4 with an RBI. Malone went 2-for-2 with two RBIs.

Ware went 2-for-4, including two home runs, with two RBIs.

Abbie Schmidt went 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored. Haney added two RBIs, a hit and a run scored.

Ware pitched both games in their entirety, throwing seven strikeouts against Southampton and two against Kenston Forest.

Describing what it meant to be the state champion this year, Ware said, “It’s insane. It’s surreal, because last year we were so close, and we knew we were going to get it this year in our hearts …”