Hurricane softball knocks off St. Albans, 2-0
HURRICANE -- Two hours and 15 minutes is a long time to think about an at-bat.
But that was the hand dealt to Hurricane senior Linzie Reynolds, as a Friday night thunderstorm brought a halt to the Redskins' Class AAA, Region IV softball championship game against St. Albans.
Hurricane had handled the Red Dragons fairly easily in the regular season, topping them 9-0 and 13-0.
But St. Albans, a traditional softball power, dug in Friday with a trip to state tournament on the line. The game was knotted 0-0 in the bottom of the fifth inning when Hurricane's Madi Casto reached base on an error, then moved to second base on a sac bunt.
That's when the lightning hit, and the rain came soon after.
"That whole time I was telling Linzie they're going to come inside on you and you just have to bloop that ball over their heads," Hurricane head coach Josh Caldwell said.
And that's exactly what Reynolds did, bringing Casto in to score after the rain delay with the game-winning hit in a 2-0 victory that sends Hurricane to the state tournament for the first time in program history.
Reynolds wasn't the first batter to take the plate once the game resumed. She was behind pitcher and slugger Courtney Rogers, but St. Albans had walked Rogers three times and Caldwell knew the Dragons weren't going to pitch to her with a runner in scoring position. So he focused on Reynolds while Rogers walked for the fourth time.
"That's the best thing when you can make your coach happy," Reynolds said with a wide grin after the game ended. "I knew my team needed me, especially in a big game like this, and it doesn't matter where they put you or what happens, you have to come through."
St. Albans opened the top of the sixth inning with a base hit, but Rogers struck out the next three batters she faced.
"I felt like we had a bit of momentum before the delay," said St. Albans head coach Greg Garber. "I hate that we gave up that unearned run, and we're a 28-4 softball team that's scored runs on good teams, but we just couldn't come through tonight."
In the bottom half of the sixth, Emily Davis gave the Redskins a bit of insurance with a lead-off home run over the left-center fence.
"The ball was in my zone, and really I just wanted a base hit to get things started," Davis said. "I didn't think it was gone until I actually saw it go over. It felt good. That was my first one of the year."
It seemed as though the Red Dragons might rally in the top of the seventh when Katie Holstein led off with a hard-hit double to center field.
But Holstein got trapped between second and third after a ground-out from Whitney Jones, and was tagged out in a rundown, giving Hurricane a double play. Rogers got Amber Kemplin to fly out, and the celebration was on at Hurricane Field.
"I feel great for the girls and it's great for this program," Caldwell said. "Prom is tomorrow, so we'll have to get in a quick practice in the morning and then get them out, and then the goal is to win state."
While some players were relishing the moment, Davis, like her coach, was focused on the next step.
"It feels really good and it's great to make history, but we've got to go up there and play the best that we can," she said.
ST. ALBANS 000 000 0 -- 0 6 3
HURRICANE 000 011 x -- 2 6 0
Rogers and Reynolds; Haynes and Caudill
Hitting: (SA) Bonham 2-3, Holstein 2-3, 2B; (H) Reynolds, RBI, Davis HR, RBI.