Wolverines’ bid to repeat falls short
CARROLL COUNTY 1, WOODGROVE 0
lynchburg, va. — Down to her final strike, Alexa Dolby battled, desperately trying to keep Woodgrove’s season alive against Carroll County in the Virginia 4A softball state final. Cavaliers pitcher Sydney Nester had mowed through the Wolverines’ lineup all morning, but Woodgrove had the tying run at second.
The junior outfielder fouled one of Nester’s offerings straight back. Then, she got ahead of an off-speed pitch and lofted a soft foul ball up the third base line. But like she and her teammates 12 times previously, Dolby could not solve Nester, and she watched strike three go by at her knees.
In a pitcher’s duel between freshmen, Carroll County got the better of defending state champion Woodgrove, 1-0, to capture its first state title Saturday at Liberty University. Nester pitched a two-hit shutout, walking none and striking out 13 Wolverines on 86 pitches. She was perfect until Taylor Kilgour got Woodgrove’s first hit with two outs in the fifth.
When the Wolverines (25-3) beat the Cavaliers (26-1) for the Virginia 4A North region title last week, Carroll County Coach Ricky Nester started a different pitcher, not allowing the Woodgrove hitters to get a look at his ace before a potential state final rematch.
“If we had seen her before, I think it would have been a little bit of an advantage, but we’ve come out on top on girls we’ve never seen before,” Kilgour said. “I just think we didn’t jump on her at first, and we couldn’t string our hits together.”
“If he wins, he’s a genius,” Woodgrove Coach Joe Spicer said. “And he’s a genius.”
Another risky coaching decision from Carroll County led to the game’s lone run. The Cavaliers loaded the bases against Woodgrove freshman Camryn Dolby with two outs in the fifth. While Dolby set up for her next pitch, Hannah Dalton strayed off second base, drawing the throw and getting into a pickle.
Carroll County pinch runner Jeannie Utt took off from third to home, scoring before Woodgrove ended the inning. It was the first run surrendered by the Wolverines since their Conference 21 semifinal win May 22.
Dolby struggled with command early and allowed 10 hits and three walks. But she deftly escaped trouble, stranding 11 Cavaliers and striking out nine.