Saving the best for last despite the loss

Published 12:20 pm Thursday, May 31, 2018

A season of development for Prince Edward County High School’s varsity softball team ended on a high note in the Region 2A quarterfinals Tuesday night, even though that end came with a loss.

The No. 4-seeded Lady Eagles took host No. 1 Nottoway High School the distance and beyond, finally giving up a Lady Cougars run with two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning for a 1-0 victory that eliminated Prince Edward.

The performance left Lady Eagles Head Coach LaDonia Mujahid feeling very positive.

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“I felt great after the game,” she said Wednesday. “It’s hard for the girls to get a loss like that after playing so hard. Yesterday was a pitcher’s game. I would almost say we had more opportunities of actually scoring runs than they did. They just finally seized the moment at the end. But we battled from the first inning till the last inning. This was by far the best game we’ve played all season, and we had quite a few changes on the field.”

Mujahid decided to play Shauneice Beasley in the circle, and Beasley pitched all eight innings.

“She did an extremely good job pitching, and this is her last game, because she’s a senior,” the coach said.

Freshman Jaden Capati, who contributed frequently in the circle this year, moved to the catcher position.

“That was Jaden’s second game catching all year,” Mujahid said. “T’Asia Beasley played third base. She’s normally our second baseman. Mackenzie Morris came out of the outfield to play second, and we still had our regular outfielders but players that sometimes played, sometimes didn’t. So our outfield was Asia Edmonds (in right field), of course SaRoya Walton in center field and Lauran Todt in left.”

Mujahid said the trio of Edmonds, Walton and Todt did an amazing job on defense.

“Balls that were hit in the outfield, there were some really, really nice catches,” the coach said. “They hustled, they communicated, and we did all of that without one of our players. Sarah Edwards didn’t make it to the game yesterday because she was working.”

In the pitcher’s duel, Shauneice Beasley threw nine strikeouts.

On offense, Beasley and Capati each recorded two hits, senior Abby Roach had one and Walton, a sophomore, also had one.

Mujahid had high praise for Shauneice Beasley based on her play Tuesday.

“She put the team on her back and carried them all the way through,” the coach said.

Mujahid also highlighted Beasley as positively impacting the Lady Eagles for the entire season.

“She was the motor to our team,” Mujahid said. “She was the one who got everything going. The wins came from when she pitched.”

Beasley could take over games in the circle, possessing what Mujahid called a “winner’s attitude” all of the time, no matter what.

“She’s always had it ever since I’ve coached her for the past two years, and it’s just a different mindset that she has,” the coach said. “She has a ‘no fear’ attitude no matter who it is, whether it’s the first seed or the fifth seed. It makes no difference to her.”

Capati drew praise from her coach for doing a very good job in the circle this season, with room to develop even further and hone the same abilities Beasley demonstrates.

Prince Edward has shown marked progress in its two years with Mujahid leading the program. After going 4-17 in 2017, the Lady Eagles finished the 2018 season with an overall record of 9-10.

“I feel good going into, more so, next season,” Mujahid said. “There’s a lot of talent coming up.”

She mentioned looking forward to reunions that will bring continuity and strength to the varsity team.

“It’ll be a good mixture, because Jaden, T’Asia, they played with the girls that are coming up now, from middle school on up,” she said. “… I think it’s a whole lot easier to coach a bunch of younger kids all together and have them grow together …”

Mujahid also cited that there were signs of leadership this season from the team’s younger group of players, further illustrating why the future is bright for the Lady Eagles.