New Kent emerges as Group 3A State Softball champions after 3-0 shutout victory over Lord Botetourt
Sometimes it’s not just how talented you are, but how bad you want it. That was the message New Kent Lady Trojans’ softball Head Coach Maria Bates delivered to her team prior to Saturday morning’s contest against the Lord Botetourt Lady Cavaliers for a state championship.
The desire was there for New Kent.
Behind the pitching of Morgan Berg and scrapping up every run possible, New Kent emerged as 3-0 winners over the Lady Cavaliers, capturing the school’s first state softball championship in history.
Berg started the game off strong, fanning the first two batters. Meanwhile, the Lady Trojan offense struck early in the bottom of the frame. Noah Murray’s bunt placed her on base before she advanced to second on a throwing error. From there, Alline Alexander’s double brought Murray home. After Alexander advanced to third on a fielder’s choice, Berg drove her in on a sacrifice to provide the Lady Trojans a 2-0 lead.
The score remained that way until the bottom of the sixth inning. New Kent, who was the home team, got a single from McKenna Mueller. A bunt executed by Berg allowed Mueller to advance and for Berg to get on base. From there, Abbie Kegley’s single drove in an additional run to provide the Lady Trojans a 3-0 lead heading into the top of the seventh.
With three outs left to nab, Lord Botetourt did not make the journey easy for New Kent. After Lady Cavalier Rhyann Jones singled, a hit-by-pitch placed runners on first and second.
But New Kent calmed down, getting the next two Lady Cavaliers out via pop out. From there, Berg’s command of the mound resulted in Lord Botetourt’s Gianna Sloan-Lebron striking out, ending the game and sending the Lady Trojans home with a state championship. For the game, Berg struck out 10 batters and only allowed two hits, as New Kent’s defense completed the shutout victory.
Bates reflected on the season and the journey her team faced in capturing the historic trophy.
“These girls earned it,” she said. “Each and every one of them. They have put so much work in this year to get to this point.
“To see them reap the rewards of that hard work and sacrifice is so special as a coach,” Bates concluded.
New Kent graduated six players during June 10 commencement ceremonies at the VCU Siegel Center. The team completes the season with a record of 25-1.