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Battlefield Softball: Cabrera’s almost-gem lifts Chargers
BY JUSTIN RICE
Calling it a gem may be a stretch—Chancellor starting pitcher Jo–Ellen Cabrera walked five, allowed two other runners to reach on errors and gave up two runs.
But it was a no-hitter, and it let the Chargers celebrate like they haven’t done since 2008.
Chancellor used a six-run sixth inning—breaking up a bid for a second-straight no–no by Caroline pitcher Abby Morrow—and the Chargers beat the Cavaliers, 7–2, on Wednesday in the Battlefield District softball championship game. It’s the first tournament win for Chancellor—the district’s regular-season champion—since 2008.
Both teams have advanced to the Region I tournament. Chancellor will host a game on Monday.
“That’s just the heart of a senior,” Chancellor coach Monica Larkin said, referring to Cabrera. “She wants to go out on top and she loves this team. She battled back in a lot of tough spots.”
A throwing error, a fielder choice bunt that the Chargers failed to record an out on and a hit batter helped the Cavaliers load the bases in the second with one out.
But Cabrera got a strikeout and a groundout to retire the side.
She worked around walks in the third and fourth innings, but the free bases almost burned the Chargers in the fifth.
Rebecca Calhoun loaded the bases with her third walk of the inning, and Courtney Didlake drove in a pair of runs on a mishandled ground ball to the left side that put the Cavaliers up 2–0.
And with Morrow on cruise control, Chancellor’s title hopes seemed to hang by a thread.
“You couldn’t ask for any better [from Morrow],” Caroline coach Greg Trainum said. “I couldn’t be more proud of them.”
Morrow didn’t give up a hit on Tuesday in a 1–0 win against Culpeper that clinched a Region I berth for the Cavaliers.
She picked up right where she left off—retiring 11 of the first 12 batters she faced on Wednesday—the exception being a third-inning error.
It was Cabrera who finally broke through for the Chargers.
She reached on an error to start the inning. She came home on a triple to right field by Marisa Soto.
Just getting on the board seemed to lift the Chargers’ spirits.
“We knew Caroline is super fundamentally sound,” Larkin said. “But we knew if we could keep hitting and keep hitting it, we would poke one through.”
Morrow struck out only three, but nearly perfect defense kept the Cavaliers on top.
It all changed in the sixth, though.
Taylor Feducia led off the frame with a single and the next five Chancellor batters reached—on an error, a fielders choice, and three singles.
After Morrow got a strikeout to record the inning’s first out, Soto roped a double off the center-field fence to drive in her second run of the game and capping Chancellor’s six-run rally for a 7–2 lead.
“[Soto] has a lot of heart,” Cabrera said. “She got up there and got us going.”
Larkin said Soto missed the first eight games of the year, and may only now be getting into a groove.
“She’s on fire right now,” the coach said. “She’s just now really finding her stroke.”
R H E
Caroline 0000 200 2 0 4
Chancellor 0000 16x 7 6 2
ABBY MORROW and Courtney Didlake. JO–ELLEN CABRERA and Elaine Wood.
CULPEPER 2, SPOTSYLVANIA 1
Culpeper scored its only two runs on a seventh-inning, two-out throwing error, giving the Blue Devils the Battlefield’s third spot in the Region I tournament.
Culpeper will play at a Bay Rivers District team on Monday in the region quarterfinals.
Spotsylvania starter Makayla Baker had a no-hitter for the first 5 innings, and Knights second baseman Hannah Harris hit a fifth-inning ball over the centerfield fence for a 1–0 lead.
Kara Cuccherini broke up the no-hitter with a soft infield liner in the sixth, but was stranded at second.
Culpeper’s Brittney Wright led off the seventh inning with a single, and Colby Mocarski followed with another hit, to give the Devils runners on second and third with one out.
Carolyn Campbell then lofted a ball to straight-away center field, and the Knights caught it. The throw home to try to tag out the tying run was cut off, but the Devils’ base runner had turned and gone back to third.
The runner on second, though, was already headed towards third.
The throw to third—which would have easily recorded the game’s final out—sailed high, and down the left-field line, allowing both runners to score and sending Culpeper on to the region quarterfinals.
“It’s been a while since Culpeper has moved on, so it’s good to go,” Culpeper coach Early Mills said. “But we’ve got to play better ball.
“We haven’t hit for four or five games now.”
R H E
Spotsylvania 0000 100 1 5 2
Culpeper 0000 002 2 3 0
MAKAYLA BAKER and Casey Scheaffer. Miranda Cropp and Colby Mocarski
Justin Rice: 540/368-5045