By Jim Laise - firstname.lastname@example.org
STEPHENS CITY -- Every victory is important, said Sherando's Courtney Reid, but some may be more critical than others.
"When we see that district game [on the schedule], that's big," said the senior Friday night.
Reid, who suffered a broken leg in fall exhibition softball, twirled a four-hitter and contributed a home run to the Warriors' 6-1 Northwestern District victory over James Wood at Sherando Park.
It was the first league competition of the young season for both teams.
"It's a different view," she said. "It's big because it's a local win."
Sherando is 2-0, while Wood dropped to 0-2.
Reid, who Warriors coach Clarence Smith said is receiving college recruiting interest as a pitcher and hitter, depended on a change-up to go along with her fastball and drop pitch to stymie the Colonels, who lost to non-district Tuscarora 12-2 on Sept. 11.
The right-hander gave up just four singles to the Colonel batters, no earned runs and zero walks. She struck out two and hit one hitter.
She retired 14 of the last 16 Colonels she faced.
"My plan was to think about what each of their hitters were going to do," Reid said. "We know them pretty well from playing them in the past, in little league and in the summer.
"I'd say my best pitch tonight was my change-up. My change-up was really working. I mixed that with my fast-ball and drop pitch," said Reid, who estimated she threw the change about 25 percent of the cool evening.
Sherando coach Smith, who led his team to runner-up positions in the Northwestern District regular season and tournament in 2012 en route to a first-round regional defeat, said Reid (2-0) has been working on coming back from the right leg injury since the fall.
"She's still getting there, but she was in control tonight. I think when her leg strengthens, she'll show more power. She's usually a strikeout pitcher," he said.
James Wood coach Ted McDaniel said he thought Reid was in control against his team.
"I think we played pretty good defense, and Kierstyn [Peacoe] did a good job, we just couldn't get the hits when we needed them," McDaniel said.
Wood actually took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first when a ball got through a Sherando infielder's legs, plating leadoff hitter Peacoe, who had reached on an opening-game single.
After that, the Warriors' bats -- which lashed out 13 hits, including a double by Michaela Carper, Reid's round-tripper and a two-bagger by Heidi Brown -- went to work.
"I wasn't concerned in the first inning because I knew our hitters would come through. We were confident we could score runs," said Reid, whose team knocked off non-league Brentsville 13-4 in the March 13 season opener.
Sherando exploded for three runs in the bottom of the third, a single score in the fifth, and two more in the sixth, when Reid poked a two-run blast into left field.
The Warriors loaded up the bases on Peacoe in the third and Allison Bauer cleared them with a single to left, which she extended to reach second base on the throw from the outfield.
Sarah Steckman's single drove home Cierra Lewis, who had replaced Carly Nixon, in the fifth. Lewis had reached base on a single over second base.
It was Reid who brought home Katie Seymour, who had reached base on an error in the sixth, with her home run.
Bauer clouted three singles in four trips with two runs batted in. Seymour, Reid and Brown also had two hits.
Play was unusually sharp for this early in the campaign. Just four errors were committed, two by each team.
This was just the sixth time all year that Sherando got outside to practice on a regulation field due to inclement weather. This marked Wood's fourth opportunity on a regular diamond.