Skyline tops Wood in softball, 4-0
WINCHESTER — Maybe the Northwestern District softball race always went through Skyline considering the Hawks are the defending Northwestern District champs.
On Tuesday night, Skyline made it official — taking control of the district race with a convincing win over the only district team its lost to all season.
Senior pitcher Sarah Beamer tossed her second-straight district shutout, and freshman Tori Jo Brown went 2 for 4 with a home run in Skyline’s 4-0 victory over James Wood on Tuesday night.
Beamer (9-3) struck out three and got a solid performance from her defense to keep the defending district-champion Hawks (10-4, 6-1) in first place, getting a key win over the Colonels (5-7, 4-3) after falling to James Wood 14-3 in the team’s first meeting on April 4. Beamer — who went 2 for 4 with a pair of doubles — missed the first game, but kept the Colonels’ bats quiet throughout in the rematch.
“We were kind of shorthanded the first time when Sarah was out and our other pitcher [Carrie Robinson] had pneumonia and nobody knew it so she had like a 102 temperature,” said Skyline coach Frank Nelson. “The thing is we’re learning to play as a team.”
The Hawks’ defense turned a stellar 4-6-3 double play to end the bottom of the first when the Colonels had runners on first and second with one out.
James Wood No. 4 hitter Charlotte Viands hit a grounder to sophomore Michala Craig at second, who fired to freshman shortstop Makaela Dawkins, who gunned to first to complete the inning-ending double play.
In the top of the second, the Hawks gave Beamer all the run support she would need from there.
Brown led off the second with a walk and advanced to third after Allison Funk (2 for 3 with an RBI and was hit by a pitch) ripped a double into the left-field corner to put runners on second and third.
James Wood pitcher Tori Armel (0-2) allowed Brown and Funk to score on a pair of wild pitches to put the Hawks on top 2-0.
Skyline added another run in the top of the third when Brown connected on her first varsity homer, drilling an Armel fastball down the middle of the plate for a solo shot over the fence in left-center field that pushed the Hawks’ lead to 3-0.
“It’s big for us because last time we didn’t have Sarah,” said Brown, who scored a pair of runs. “Since she was here it gave us all confidence that we were going to win this game.”
Beamer — who signed to play at the University of Virginia-Wise last Wednesday — made sure the first inning was the only time the Colonels had runners in scoring position with less than two outs the rest of the way.
She retired 13 consecutive batters until Rachael Largent’s two-out bloop single beyond short followed by an infield single by Jessy Shipman. Beamer got out of the inning, getting Viands to hit a ground ball to Craig, who forced out Shipman at second.
“Sarah was sharp tonight,” Nelson said of Beamer, who threw a two-hit shutout and struck out six in an 11-0 district win over Sherando last Thursday. “She realizes that she’s got a group of girls behind her where she doesn’t have to do everything herself.”
The Hawks’ infielders played solid defense, making assists on 14 groundball outs and only committing one error on Caitlin Hickey’s one-hopper near the bag at second with two outs in the seventh.
“We hit the ball and put some people on base but we didn’t get any hits — or just one hit — with somebody on base,” said James Wood coach Ted McDaniel. “We’ve got to do better than that to win.
“It was a well-played game. I’m really proud of our pitchers — Tori and Taylor [Rizzari] — they both pitched well. Skyline was a little bit better tonight.”
Armel took the loss, allowing four runs on six hits through 41/3 innings. She struck out two and walked two. Rizzari allowed no runs and three hits over the final 22/3 innings.
James Wood junior Kierstyn Peacoe did not pitch after exiting Monday night’s game against Handley after four innings with a stiff shoulder. She played second base, going 0 for 3 in the lead-off spot.
Shipman went 2 for 3 to lead the Colonels. Junior Hayley Whitacre and Largent had the Colonels’ other two hits.
“Our defense made the plays we needed to make but hitting was the big difference,” said Whitacre, who snared a pair of line drives at short and had an assist. “We made hits but not with people on and [Skyline] made the hits every time they needed them.”
— Contact Robert Stocks at email@example.com Follow on Twitter @WinStarSports1