By Jim Laise - email@example.com
WOODSTOCK -- Longwood University-bound Hayley Kilby supplied the bat and glove and freshman pitcher Leah Shipp provided the arm as Conference 27 champ Brentsville nudged Conference 28 title winner Central 3-1 in 10 innings of girls softball in the quarterfinal round of the Group 3A East Region tournament on Monday.
The loss for Central (17-4) culminated a season when the Falcons not only won their conference championship, but for the second year in a row advanced to the regional first round. They had won 12 of 13 games prior to this post-season affair.
Brentsville (15-1) will continue into the semifinal round of the regional tournament at York on Wednesday.
"Just one pitch, but sometimes that's all it takes," said Central coach Lisa Rhodes.
The "pitch" to which Rhodes was referring came off the hand of stellar Rebecca Ansbro, who offered up a ball to Kilby, who doubled to right field in the top half of the 10th to drive in what amounted to the game-deciding runs.
Kilby was 2-for-5 with the double and two runs batted in. She also made a diving stab of freshman Shennan Waldron's hard hit drive to the left side of the shortstop to end the game.
Kilby and Krista Panone (3-for-4, 1 run scored) were the only ones who could make a dent in Central pitcher Ansbro's final outing of the season. Otherwise the Falcon hurler gave up a total of seven hits in 10 full innings. She allowed the three runs, but struck out 11 Tigers and walked three.
Two of the three bases on balls came in the visitor half of the 10th as McKenzie Bailey walked to lead off the tell-tale inning. Panone's single past shortstop put on two runners, then Ansbro walked Erin Jones to load the bases. Kilby then slammed her double. Another walk and Ansbro was able to get out of the inning.
Central went down in order in the 10th.
The Falcons had trouble getting base runners on as Shipp, who pitched for a national champion 10-and-under travel softball team, allowed just three hits. She struck out 15.
"Leah's really focused in," said Brentsville coach Amy Beard. "She doesn't let anything disturb her. I would have liked to give her more run production, but this time of year you're just glad to win."
Trailing by one in the bottom of the fourth, Central put up a rally. Lead-off hitter Mary Wakeman led the inning off with a double to right. It was the first hit the Falcons were able to muster. Waldron bunted Wakeman to third. Then Waldron stole second. But Shipp bore down and retired the side.
Central was able to tie the game in the sixth when Brook Sager reached on an error, then Wakeman pushed her to second with a single beyond second base. A fielder's choice loaded the bases and with two outs, and Sydney Plum singled past second base to score Wakeman.
Wakeman was outstanding in her final game. She got three hits in five at bats and scored a run.
Brentsville rallied in the sixth and the eighth but could push no runners past home until the decisive 10th.