By Robert Edmonds - firstname.lastname@example.org
WARRENTON -- For the third time this season Fauquier met up with Warren County, this time with a trip to the Evergreen District title game on the line when the pair played Tuesday night in girls softball action.
Similar to the games earlier this year, the game was competitive with neither opponent giving an inch, but in the end the Falcons completed the sweep of Warren County with a 3-2 victory.
"It seems that no matter what our records are, when we face Warren County it's always a tough game," Falcons coach Mark Ott said. "They step their game up, and they always come to play. We had some key defensive plays and a game-changing hit from Rachel Bryan that was really the difference tonight."
It was Warren County who grabbed the lead early with a run in the top of the second inning, but a Falcons rally in the third proved to be the difference in the game.
After Justina Augustine slapped a two-out single to center field, Kristine Chipman drew a walk to put baserunners on first and second. Falcons' pitcher Sarah Kleinfelter then helped her own cause with an infield single that scored a run and tied the game at one.
Bryan followed with a two-run double that hit the top of the center-field fence giving Fauquier the lead 3-1. Wildcats ace Nicole King ended the surge when she caught a flyball to end the inning and the Falcons threat.
Trailing by two, Warren County looked to get back into the game when they started the fifth inning by getting their first two batters of the inning on base. A pair of failed bunt attempts put a wrench in the Wildcats strategy, but King managed to knock in one run with a single to center field before a groundout from Cassie Green ended the inning.
"In a game this close you have to be able to execute on those plays," Wildcats coach Justin Stock said of the failed bunts. "If we can execute that and then we got the single, we're right back in it. We had some mental mistakes tonight, and they made the plays when they had to."
While the Wildcats continued to search for the tying run, Kleinfelter appeared to get stronger as the game went on. The senior recorded the last seven batters in order to end the game, while recording her only three strikeouts of the game during the stretch.
"Sarah [Kleinfelter] seemed to calm down as the game went on," Ott said. "Early on, I thought she was over-pitching, and she had some high counts. She ended the game with close to 140 pitches which is uncharacteristic of her. Maybe it was the adrenaline, but as the game went on she did very well in some tight situations that helped us secure this win."
The win propelled Fauquier to the Evergreen District title game while putting an end to the Wildcats season.
"We started the season with high expectations,' Stock said. "After getting a taste of regionals last year, we really hoped we would have a chance to return, but sometimes that's the way things go. We have a tough spot to fill at pitcher, but we have some young kids getting a little more mature. We hope to be back in the running this time next year."
One major bright spot for the Wildcats was a solid finish to King's time at Warren County with a seven strikeout performance leaving her with 967 in her career.