New Kent Charles City Chronicle

News for New Kent County and Charles City County, Virginia | August 19, 2022

Berg’s one-hitter, RBI enough as New Kent advances to state championship softball game

By Robb Johnson | June 10, 2022 4:40 pm

A diving catch by New Kent’s Haley Baker (9) sends teammates McKenna Mueller (10) and Addison Rowe (2) into an excited celebration.

Robb Johnson photo

With a spot in the state championship contest on the line, New Kent’s Lady Trojans had to conquer a fort that has yet to fall in competition this year. On Friday morning it did.

New Kent’s Lady Trojans composed a 2-0 shutout of the Fort Defiance Lady Indians in the Group 3A State Semifinal game to earn their right into the championship on June 11 against Lord Botetourt in Spotsylvania.

In the early going, both teams went through the feeling out process. After New Kent was retired in the top of the first, pitching from Morgan Berg allowed the Lady Trojans to escape the bottom of the inning unscathed.

New Kent’s first test came in the bottom of the third inning. A connection by Lady Indian Baylee Blalock went into shallow center field. But a diving catch by Haley Baker snagged the ball, keeping the scoreboard blank for both teams.

That defensive momentum turned into a positive swing for the Lady Trojans in the top of the fourth. Alline Alexander’s double and subsequent advancement to third base set New Kent up in scoring position. Berg benefited her on cause on the mount, contributing an RBI single and providing New Kent a 1-0 lead. After Berg advanced to second base, teammate Hannah Tober’s RBI double brought home the Lady Trojans second run of the game and provided a 2-0 advantage.

Meanwhile, Berg’s pitching allowed her to take a no-hitter into the bottom of the fifth inning, when it was finally broken up by Fort Defiance’s Courtney Begoon. But that hit was the only one of the game for the Lady Indians, who saw their season end thanks to the defense from New Kent.

An excited Lady Trojans Head Coach Maria Bates spoke about stepping up each game as the pressure rises.

“They (Fort Defiance) had a complete game, but we just came off a great defensive game,” she commented. “We are peaking at the right time.

“It’s the time of the year where all the teams are good, pitching is good, and we are going to have to get runs anyway we can,” Bates continued. “Defense wins championships and for Morgan Berg to keep batters off balance like she did the last two games as much as she has is big.”

Bates final message prior to Saturday morning’s state championship game was simple.

“Give all you got because it’s win or go home,” she said. “Pain lasts a little bit, but glory lasts forever.”