The Glenvar softball season ended one win away from a trip to the state tournament. Appomattox defeated Glenvar, 3-1, in Appomattox Saturday to win Region 2C and advance to this week’s Class 2 state tournament.
“It’s heartbreaking,” said Glenvar coach Lonnie Raines. “Not only did our girls miss the entire season last year, but had this been any other season they still would be going to states because typically the regional champ and runner-up go on to compete in the state tournament. So, for this team it was a double hit.”
Glenvar missed a chance to score when the Highlanders stranded two in the top of the first, then Appomattox scored an unearned run in the bottom of the first to take an early lead. Izzy Shearer opened the second inning with a single but the next three batters struck out, stranding her.
McKenna Shearer opened on the mound for Glenvar, but when she walked the first batter in the bottom of the fourth Raines called on Sophie McCulley to relieve. McCulley struck out the first batter she faced, but the next three singled, with the third single bringing in two runs.
In the sixth inning, with two outs, Lydia Taylor was walked and Kayleigh Saunders was sent in as a pinch runner. McCulley doubled, scoring Saunders, but the next batter grounded out in the infield. That was the only run Glenvar could muster as the Highlanders were held to four hits for the game, one each by Taylor, McCulley, Izzy Shearer and Courtney Raines.
McKenna Shearer allowed four hits, had one strikeout and walked one. McCulley allowed five hits, had two strikeouts, and walked one.
“When you look at Appomattox’s scores you see that they run-ruled most of their opponents this year,” said coach Raines. “We came the closest of any team this year to beating them. We had some chances, but didn’t capitalize on them.”
The loss followed a 4-3 win over Floyd County in the region semi-final at Glenvar last Thursday. McKenna Shearer and McCulley split time on the mound for the win, with Shearer getting the victory and McCulley getting a save. Shearer pitched the first five innings allowing only one hit with four strikeouts and two walks. McCulley pitched the last two innings, allowing only one hit and fanning four.
Offensively Glenvar was led by Madison Martinez, who had two hits and an RBI. Seven other players on the roster each had one hit. Sarah Kate Tozier had an RBI.
The senior-laden Highlanders finished the season with an 11-3 record. Seniors included Taylor, Raines, Martinez, McKenna Shearer, Avery Luper, Justice Wilfong, Taylor Schoonover and Madeline Pruett.
“They have worked so hard for the last five or six years to get here and this team really deserved to compete in the state tournament,” said coach Raines. “Regardless, I couldn’t be prouder of them. I know the girls were really upset after the loss and that shows how much they cared and how hard they had worked for this. “
The Highlanders will return five juniors, including McCulley on the mound. Coach Lonnie Raines faces a major back surgery that he has put off for months so that he would see this team through the season. It’s scheduled for July but he is on a cancellation call list and wants to get the surgery over with so he can start preparing for next season.
“We must move on,” he said. “We graduated eight talented seniors so we start working again in August to fill those shoes.”