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Prep Softball: Payback payoff for Chargers
BY TAFT COGHILL JR.
The sinking feeling has stuck with the Chancellor High School softball team since last May.
The Chargers had a chance to earn one of four bids to the Battlefield District tournament with a win over rival Spotsylvania.
But the Knights earned the victory and forced Chancellor to miss the district tournament for the first time in school history.
“It was our senior day and we lost in extra innings,” Chancellor coach Monica Larkin said of the defeat, “so it stung a little.”
Chancellor made sure it didn’t leave its home field with a similar feeling on Tuesday.
The Chargers blitzed Spotsylvania 5–0 in a key district contest that broke a second-place tie and put them alone in second behind Culpeper.
If Culpeper lost tonight, Chancellor will be tied for first place with them.
“When they knocked us out of the district [tournament] last year, it pushed us harder to come back and get them this year,” Chancellor junior third baseman Taylor Hedrick said. “We thought about that, and focused on everything, so we’d play our best.”
The Chargers (8–4, 6–1 Battlefield) pounded out six hits and played sound defense behind winning pitcher Jo–Ellen Cabrera.
Cabrera only struck out two Knights (8–2, 5–2), but allowed just three hits because her teammates often aided her cause.
“There’s no better feeling than knowing you’ve got a team behind you that makes plays,” Cabrera said. “It’s a great feeling as a pitcher.”
The Chargers weren’t too shabby at the plate, either.
Hedrick broke out of a slump to register two hits and two RBIs.
Her first-inning RBI triple to the center field fence gave Chancellor a 1–0 lead. She later scored from third when Spotsylvania catcher Casey Sheaffer attempted to throw out Cabrera at second base.
The 2–0 advantage was plenty for Cabrera.
“Getting ahead,” she said, “definitely takes the pressure off.”
If that’s the case, Cabrera could completely relax after the fifth inning.
The Chargers tallied three runs in the frame, including an RBI triple from Elaine Wood and an RBI double from Hedrick.
“Chancellor did an excellent job of hitting the ball,” Spotsylvania coach Danny Brooks said, “and we didn’t play very good defense on top of it.”
Larkin was especially pleased with Hedrick.
She said she’s been trying to get her standout to relax more at the plate because she’s “so powerful” it causes her to tense up.
“I just finally relaxed,” Hedrick said. “I saw the ball well, and I swung.”
The Chargers visit King George on Friday. Spotsylvania hosts Caroline the same night.
R H E
Spotsylvania 0000 000 0 3 1
Chancellor 2000 30x 5 6 2
JO–ELLEN CABRERA and Riley Pates. JEN BONALEWICZ, Makayla Baker (5) and Casey Sheaffer.
Taft Coghill Jr.: 540/374-5526