South County began the postseason with its most disappointing defeat of 2014, a heartbreaking 1-0 loss to rival Lake Braddock in the Conference 7 final last month. On Sunday, their playoff experience ended in the most glorious way possible.
The Stallions took down previously unbeaten Cosby 4-1 at Robinson to claim the Virginia 6A state softball championship, their first state title in program history. The victory capped a remarkable postseason run for a group of players that had never won a region championship or appeared in a state tournament until this month.
Senior right-hander Rebecca Martin led the way in the circle yet again, striking out 16 batters in Saturday’s state semifinal against First Colonial before turning away 10 against the juggernaut Titans the next day. She went the distance in both games, giving up two hits in 11 innings Saturday and three hits in seven frames on Sunday.
South County might not have lifted the trophy had it not been for some clutch hitting down the stretch Sunday. The Stallions (26-3) finally cracked three-time All-Metro Richmond Player of the Year Chelsea Whitcomb in the fourth inning, thanks to a monster blast by senior catcher Haylea Geer. Geer’s hit sailed over the fence to provide her team some much-needed confidence at the plate, setting the stage for Riley Wilkinson’s three-run double the following inning.
“In the last few games, we haven’t really scored until [extra] innings,” Martin said. “To get Haylea’s home run in the fourth inning was huge, and then to get, on top of that, three more runs on Riley’s double was so huge. I’m so proud of how we hit today against a really good pitcher.”
Sunday’s win sent the Stallions’ six seniors out on quite the high note. That group began their careers shouldering the great expectations bestowed on them by the 2010 team, which went undefeated until losing to McLean in the region semifinals. South County was also able to get it done despite playing the entire season without their most highly touted player, Stanford commit Whitney Burks.
“It’s incredible,” South County coach Gary Dillow said. “I’m so happy for the kids and our group of seniors, who have just been phenomenal since the day they walked in the door. Everybody kind of expected our program to take a big fall off when the big group of kids graduated in 2010. These freshmen came in and picked right back up where they left off.”