By Tommy Keeler Jr.
FRONT ROYAL -- With first place in the Northwestern District at stake, Skyline wanted to make a statement against Sherando -- and they did.
The Hawks took an early lead and cruised to an 11-0 softball victory over the Warriors. The game was called after six innings due to the mercy rule.
The last time the teams played, the Hawks won 7-5 with a seventh-inning rally, and that gave the Hawks a little extra motivation.
"The last time we beat them by two, and we were just determined to come out here and beat them like we should have," Skyline senior pitcher Sarah Beamer said.
Sherando had an opportunity to strike first, but couldn't take advantage of it.
Sherando's Katie Seymour and Courtney Reid each reached on an error with one out. A ground ball hit by Heidi Brown forced out Seymour at third, and Carly Nixon's pop out ended the threat.
"This year what we tend to get Sarah into, we tend to get her out of, if she doesn't get out of it herself," Skyline coach Frank Nelson said.
The Hawks then took the lead in the bottom of the first. Skyline's Hannah Ritter drew a walk and stole second. Two outs later, an RBI single by Tori Jo Brown gave the Hawks a 1-0 lead.
After two more walks loaded the bases, a two-run error on a ground ball hit by Michaela Dawkins extended the lead to 3-0.
The score stayed the same until the bottom of the fifth, when the Hawks blew the game wide open. Skyline batted around, and scored five runs to take an 8-0 lead.
The Hawks (8-4, 4-1 Northwestern) had only three hits in the inning, but were aided by two Sherando errors and two hit batters.
Skyline's Carrie Robinson did the most damage with a two-run single.
An error, a double and two singles ended the game in the bottom of the sixth.
"I think we all just came out here determined to beat them, so we could get that No. 1 spot in the district," Beamer said.
Beamer, who just signed to play at the University of Virginia-Wise on Wednesday, was in total control in the circle.
The Warriors (7-4, 4-2 northwestern) managed only two hits, and Beamer struck out six.
"I thought I did really good," Beamer said. "I had good movement. The umpire was calling strikes good."
Sherando's Haley Miles and Megan Leake each had a single for the Warriors.
Sherando coach Clarence Smith said he was disappointed with how his team played.
"We didn't come to play, they obviously did and this is what happens," Smith said. "We have five seniors, but we have a lot of young kids on the team too. And I'd like to say this is something we can learn from, but it's going to be interesting to see how we go from this point on. I hope that they look at this as a learning experience, and maybe get a little fire under them to let them know that we need to come to play if were going to actually compete."
Seven different players had a hit for the Hawks, who had only seven total.
Nelson said he's happy with the way his team has improved throughout the season.
"From week one to now we're a completely different team," Nelson said. "We're playing well and were young. When we played [Sherando] the first time we were playing not to make mistakes and now they've gotten to the point where they're playing and they know they have to be aggressive."
Contact Assistant Sports Editor Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or firstname.lastname@example.org