NWD Softball: Colonels upset No. 2 Warriors, 4-0
WINCHESTER — If you’re only going to beat a team once in four tries, you better make that one time count.
That certainly was the thought process for the James Wood softball team. Three times the Colonels faced Sherando during the regular season and three times they’d come out on the losing end, getting outscored 17-1 in the process.
But with a Region II berth and a spot in the Northwestern District Tournament championship game on the line, the Colonels finally broke through.
Sparked by a two-run first inning and a stellar performance in the circle from junior Kierstyn Peacoe, James Wood shut out the Warriors 4-0 in the second semifinal game Saturday afternoon.
“We talked a lot coming into this game about how Sherando had dominated us lately, how we were 0-3 against them this year and how we’d lost six of the last seven to them,” said James Wood coach Ted McDaniel. “I told them that they’ve been inside our heads, but we’ve got to break this jinx here.
“On the ride over here we were pumped. And I knew we were ready and when Jessy [Shipman] knocked that first pitch of the game to the fence I didn’t know we were going to win, but I sure knew we’d come to play ball.”
Shipman laced a double into the left-center field gap on the first offering from Warriors pitcher Courtney Reid, senior Rachael Largent followed with a single to right and a passed ball and squeeze bunt from cleanup hitter Charlotte Viands gave James Wood (8-12) more runs in one inning than it had in three games against Sherando (11-9).
“I think progressively we hit better against them every time we played them, we were hitting hard shots but it was just right at them,” said Peacoe, who had two of the Colonels’ eight hits in the game. “We had a feeling today that we were going to find the gaps, we were going to find the holes and that’s exactly what we did.”
Peacoe helped her own cause in the third when she followed a one-out single by Largent with a double to left. Warriors catcher Haley Miles couldn’t hold on to the relay at home, allowing Largent to score, and Viands tallied her second RBI of the day with a single to score Peacoe and give James Wood all of the offense it would need.
Sherando had base runners in four of the seven innings, and had the leadoff hitter reach safely three times, but couldn’t come up with the big hit against Peacoe, who scattered five hits and struck out five.
“We expected to put some runs up on Kierstyn today, but she pitched extremely well, she made all the big pitches she needed to make,” said Sherando coach Clarence Smith. “We had runners in scoring position, runners on the base paths pretty much all day long, but couldn’t punch any of them threw and that’s a testament to her and her defense behind her.”
Reid, who went 2 for 3 in the game, didn’t have her best stuff but still managed to keep her team in it, working around eight hits and three walks to limit the Colonels to the four runs. Miles was the only other Warrior to get a hit off Peacoe, finishing a perfect 3 for 3, but it wasn’t enough Saturday.
Largent and Viands each went 2 for 4 and Whitney Dick added a single for James Wood, who will now face Skyline in the finals at 6 p.m. Tuesday.
“The past three games they got into our heads a lot and we pressed, but today we just relaxed and played our game,” Peacoe said. “It’s hard to beat a team four times and we got it when it matters most.”
— Contact Kevin Trudgeon at firstname.lastname@example.org
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