SOUTH PRINCE GEORGE, Va. -- Freshman Taylor Bilyard/Culpeper hit a game-winning, walk-off RBI double in the bottom of the seventh inning of the first game, while sophomores Brooklynn Bilyard/Culpeper and Ashley Fritz/Chesterfield each hit home runs in the second game, as Richard Bland split a softball doubleheader against Southeastern-Whiteville (N.C.) on Thursday at the Statesman Softball Field. Freshman Megan Vincent/Boykins earned the pitching victory in the dramatic 6-5 opener for the host Statesmen (15-8, 5-7 Region 10), while Brooklynn Bilyard took the pitching setback in the 13-17 slugfest of a nightcap against the visiting Rams (23-7, 10-5 Region 10).
In game one, Richard Bland had six runs on 10 hits … scoring one run in the second inning, two runs in the third and two runs in the fourth before plating the game-winner in the seventh for the exciting walk-off victory. The Statesmen had tied it at 1-1 in the second, took a 3-1 lead in the third and had a 5-2 advantage into the seventh, but Southeastern-Whiteville scored three runs in the top of the inning to tie it at 5-5 … ahead of the thrilling finish. Taylor Bilyard's clutch run-scoring double plated sophomore Kay'Lee Justice/Suffolk, who had walked to lead-off the bottom of the seventh.
Brooklynn Bilyard was 2-4 with a run and two RBIs, and Taylor Bilyard was 1-3 with two RBIs. Freshman Mary Simms/Orange was 2-3 with a solo home run, her team-leading fourth homer this season, while sophomore Kamryn Lanier/Chester was 2-3 and Justice was 1-2 with a run, one RBI and two walks.
Vincent (4-3) started in the circle and pitched the 7.0 innings, scattering five hits and five runs, four earned, with four strikeouts and seven walks. Freshman Joana Holland/Manassas faced three batters in the seventh, yielding one hit with no strikeouts and two walks.
In game two, Richard Bland had 13 runs on 19 hits … scoring four runs in the second inning, one run in the third, three runs in the fourth, three runs in the fifth and two runs in the sixth. The Statesmen fell behind 4-0 in the first, but tied it back at 4-4 in the second, only to fall behind 10-4 in the third … managing to close within 13-11 through five innings toward the final margin as the Rams hit four home runs, including a grand slam.
Brooklynn Bilyard was 3-5 with a home run, two runs, three RBIs and a stolen base, while Fritz was 3-5 with a home run, two runs and two RBIs. It was Brooklynn Bilyard's second homer in two days, and second of the season, while Fritz's homer was also her second of the spring and a rare inside-the-park feat on a hard-hit ball down the right field line that got by a diving right fielder and rolled to fence. Freshman Katie Haney/Burkeville was 2-3 with a double, two runs and two RBIs, and classmate Skyler Bagnall/Ivor was 1-1 with a triple, one run and one RBI. Sophomore Kara Morris/Kents Store was 2-4 with a triple, one run and one RBI, Taylor Bilyard was 2-4 with one RBI, Simms was 2-5 with two doubles and two runs, and Vincent was 1-2 with one run and one RBI.
Brooklynn Bilyard (5-2) started in the circle and pitched the first 2.2 innings, allowing five hits and 10 runs, all earned, with two strikeouts and five walks. Vincent tossed the final 4.1 innings, yielding nine hits and seven runs, all earned, with four strikeouts and no walks … finishing the day with 11.1 innings pitched.
Richard Bland remains at home next week to host non-region opponent Stratford University on Wednesday, April 4 … a doubleheader scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. at the Statesman Softball Field.