Key defensive play late factors into New Kent’s state quarterfinal win over William Monroe
After being denied two consecutive years for a state championship in softball, New Kent’s Lady Trojans focused on the task at hand and the simple goal of taking it one game at a time. That was what it took in Tuesday afternoon’s matchup against the visiting William Monroe Lady Dragons.
Surviving a late rally from the visitors, New Kent survived 3-2 to advance to the state semifinals for a date against undefeated Fort Defiance in Spotsylvania.
The game remained in a stalemate until the top of the third inning. Noah Murray’s triple placed her in scoring position for the Lady Trojans. Teammate McKenna Mueller did the honors to drive her home for the first run of the game. In the top of the fourth, Murray’s line drive caromed off the glove of William Monroe’s Savannah Meade, allowing another run to score for the hosts.
New Kent continued to keep tabs with offensive pressure in the top of the fifth. Mueller got into additional action with a triple of her own. Teammate Morgan Berg’s sacrifice fly produced run number three for the hosts as they carried the advantage into the top of the sixth.
But William Monroe began to decipher the pitching and defense of the hosts. Lady Dragon Kendyll Eddins’ RBI double drove in two runs, cutting New Kent’s lead to just a mere run (3-2) and only registering one out on the board and a runner on third.
But the quick thinking in the inning turned the tide for the Lady Trojans. A line drive to third baseman Alline Alexander was snagged. Noticing William Monroe’s Mara Woolford had left the base early, Alexander applied the tag, resulting in a double play and allowing the hosts to escape. From there, New Kent held on by registering the three final outs in the top of the seventh to capture the win.
After the contest, New Kent Lady Trojans Head Coach Maria Bates spoke about the key play of the game.
“Her (Alexander) defense was just absolutely great,” the head coach said. “If she would not have made that play, it would have been a game changer for sure.
“This was a total team effort and we knew they (William Monroe) was a good team coming in,” Bates added. “We did not let the heat of the moment rattle us at all. It’s a big game but they kept their eyes on the prize.”