Bath Chargers win state softball championship
Radford, Va. – The Holston Cavaliers were hoping for a rematch with the Lady Chargers, after losing a district tournament game to Bath County by one run. Someone should tell the Cavs – ‘be careful what you wish for.’
The Bath County Chargers won a thrilling come-from-behind victory over the Cavaliers at Radford University on Saturday to win the state championship for the second year in a row.
The Chargers fell behind by two runs in the first inning, but Bath senior Jailyn Ford narrowed the gap to one with a solo homer in the bottom of the frame. In the bottom of the third Ford drove in Amanda Shifflett with a single to tie the game at two. The game remained tied until the top of the sixth, when Cavalier sophomore Amelia Wampler smacked a monster shot over the center field fence, giving the Cavs a late-game 3-2 advantage.
Bath County charged back in the bottom of the sixth. Rebekkah Pauley started the rally with a one-out single. Jordan Fry followed up with a single and the runners advanced to second and third on a Holston error. Sophomore Allyson Cutlip came through in the clutch and smacked the ball into the right field gap for a game-winning, two-RBI triple. Myranda Matheny drove in Cutlip with an RBI grounder, giving Bath a 5-3 lead.
Holston’s Megan Honaker added some excitement with a two-out triple in the top of the seventh, but second-baseman Fry made a nice over-the-shoulder catch of a fly ball to secure the 5-3 win for Bath County.
Ford, with 13 strikeouts and two RBIs, says the game was nerve-wracking.
“It was a little nerve-wracking,” she said. “I get nervous but, overall, I have confidence in the team and myself and everybody else. It helps that we’re such a good team. I have faith that even if we do get down, we can come back.”
One of the best softball pitchers in Virginia, Ford will play for James Madison starting in the fall.
Cutlip say she relaxed and prayed before hitting the game-winning triple.
“It feels really good,” she said. “I just prayed the whole time and I just got up and I finally relaxed – and I hit the ball.”
The sophomore right fielder showed obvious emotion standing on third base, realizing what she had done.
“I don’t know – I was in shock,” she said. “It feels awesome and it’s really important to me. I was just so proud. The other team – they worked so hard.”
Fry says the team’s camaraderie helped them overcome adversity.
“We really work together good as a team,” she said. “I think that’s really important because – I mean we got kind of down. In the first inning, when they got all those hits, we were kind of discouraged. But, we pulled each other back up and we came right back. So, I think that’s really important to have a really close team.”
Coach Lisa Baugh agrees.
“I don’t think they ever feel pressure,” she said. “They keep each other up. They’re so close to each other that they don’t let each other get down.”
Baugh, who is stepping down as Charger coach, says it’s a bittersweet moment.
“Going out, like I am, you know, it’s a bittersweet moment for me,” she said. “But it’s the greatest feeling. It is. We’re so blessed. We kept our faith and – I tell you – we came out on top, again.”
Senior catcher Amanda Shiflett says she won’t forget the memories.
“Oh my gosh, it means the world,” she said. “I was glad to even make it to the last game, but I’m glad we won on our last game – the state championship. We went as far as we could. It’ll be a memory I’ll never forget.”
Sophomore Megan Brown says the team was confident they could repeat.
“We’ve believed we could win this game ever since the first day of practice,” she said.
The left-fielder says the future looks bright for Bath softball.
“We’ve got a lot of talent coming up,” she said. “We’ve got a lot of good sophomores and juniors on the team. So, we’ll be fine next year, too.”
The Chargers back-to-back championship is just the fourth time a team has repeated in Group A softball history since 1978.
See the photo gallery of the game on the AMR front page at alleghenymountainradio.org.