Experienced Flucos top Warriors

PALMYRA — Fluvanna has a very seasoned team in the postseason and it showed on Monday.

The Flucos, making their third straight regional appearance, showed poise on their way to a 10-2 Region 4A North softball victory over Sherando. It was the first regional appearance in quite some time for the Warriors. It was the first regional win for Fluvanna in the last three years.

“I think the difference tonight was that our girls had been here before, and we came out really relaxed,” Fluvanna coach Amie McCall said. “We’ve come out a couple years in a row and made it to regionals, and we’ve been so nervous because we’ve never really been there before. So I think the experience having been here before really worked to our advantage.”

Fluvanna (20-3) struck in the first inning. Fluvanna’s Tiffani Shaheen led off with a single, and Kiersten Allen was hit by a pitch from Sherando pitcher Hannah Lockhart. A sacrifice fly by Kaitlin Presley gave the Flucos a 1-0 lead.

Fluvanna added three more in the bottom of the second. Fluvanna’s Sophie Kershner hit a solo home run with one out.

Alyssa Robbins then drew a walk. With two outs, an error scored Robbins for a 3-0 edge.

Another error and a walk loaded the bases. A wild pitch then scored Fluvanna’s Shaheen to extend the lead to 4-0.

“I really take pride in our defensive preparation,” Sherando coach Clarence Smith said. “The last couple of games, we’re giving up easy base runners and some easy outs to teams that are too good for us to come back against that.”

In the bottom of the fourth, Fluvanna’s Allen singled with one out. An RBI double by Alexis Scott made it 5-0. A sac bunt by Victoria Belew scored Scott for a 6-0 lead.

Fluvanna pitcher Annaliese Kennedy, who has committed to Appalachian State University, allowed only two hits in the first five innings and struck out 10.

“She does a really good job of mixing it up,” McCall said.

The Warriors (18-6) finally found some offense against Kennedy in the top of the sixth. A one-out bunt single by Carly Nixon and a single by Lockhart got things started. An error on a grounder by Sherando’s Katie Manson scored two runs and cut the lead to 6-2. However, Manson was thrown out trying to go to second on the play.

There was then a one-hour rain and lightning delay. When play resumed, the Flucos were able to score four runs in the bottom of the sixth, including a three-run homer by Victoria Belew.

“That’s a good team over there — a formidable opponent,” Smith said. “We’re in a bit of a slump these last two games hitting collectively as a team. Two runs isn’t going to win very many games. This really isn’t about what we couldn’t do, it’s more about what they were able to do and not allow us to do.”

Kennedy finished with 12 strikeouts. Sherando had four hits in the loss.

Despite the loss, Smith said it was a great season for his squad.

“We accomplished a lot from both the individual aspect and certainly the team aspect,” Smith said. “Coming out of our conference, which is a very good conference with the reigning defending state champion Woodgrove over there, to earn one of those two [regional] seeds was tremendous.”

Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or tkeeler@nvdaily.com