, 2015

Richmond County All Stars
win state senior softball tourney;
now headed to national playoffs

by Lisa Hinton-Valdrighi

Richmond County celebrated its second state softball championship in a month last Sunday with a 6-1 win over Clarke County in the Senior League Virginia State Tournament at Dream Fields in Kilmarnock.

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The county had barely finished celebrating Rappahannock High School’s Group 1A state championship win June 14 when the Richmond County Little League’s senior team won the District 15 tournament and followed that up with a clean sweep in state play.

And just about all of Richmond County came out to watch their girls beat Clarke County Sunday morning. Hundreds of fans, most dressed in red and white, witnessed the victory.

Richmond County received a first-round bye by the luck of the draw in the state tournament before entering the winners’ bracket last Thursday and going 3-0 to win the state crown and earn a trip to Fort Myers, Fla., for the Southeast Regional.

Richmond County is scheduled to play Tennessee this Saturday, July 26, at Sam Fleishmann Regional Complex in Fort Myers. The local all stars will play Florida Sunday, July 27, and West Virginia on Monday, July 28. Following the first-round pool play, the top two teams in each bracket will advance. From then on it’s single elimination with the championship game scheduled for next Wednesday, according to Richmond County coach Lisa Whelan.

The Southeast Regional includes state championship teams from Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina and Georgia along with the host team from Florida, which receives an automatic berth.

More than 60 people are expected to make the trip from Warsaw to Fort Myers on a charter bus this week and more are expected to drive in private cars, said Whelan.

“My head is still spinning,” she said.

Richmond County’s All Stars, which includes eight players from Rappahannock High School’s state championship team, opened tournament play last week with an 11-1 five-inning slaughter over Northampton. They then handed Clarke County its first loss, 5-4, on Friday. Clarke was trailing, 5-1, when they rallied for three runs in the fifth inning and left the bases loaded.

Meredith Slaw got the win against both Northampton and Clarke and started on the mound in the tourney final Sunday morning.

Slaw came out with the score tied at 1-1 and Jenna Whelan came on for the save.

Mary Alyce Bronner scored on a single by Slaw in the top of the third and Clarke tied the contest at one each in the fourth, scoring one run on two errors and a double.

Whelan took Clarke three up, three down in the fifth and seventh and four up, three down in the sixth.

Richmond County rallied for three runs in the fifth on four singles, a double and an error. Whelan and Megan Baughan led off with singles each followed by a mishandled hit by Slaw, which scored Baughan. Hailee Green got on with a base hit and Courtney Berhalter cleared the bases with a double.

Whelan and Baughan scored again in the sixth on a double by Slaw.

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