BURLINGTON, N.C. -- No. 5 Richard Bland won three of four games to finish as Runners-Up at the 2018 NJCAA Region 10, District F Softball Championship on Saturday at Springwood Park in Burlington, North Carolina. The Statesmen dropped a heartbreaking 4-3 decision to No. 2 Pitt (N.C.) in the title contest, after forcing the finale with a 7-4 win against the Bulldogs in the double-elimination format. Richard Bland had advanced to the championship games with a 7-5, nine-inning victory against No. 1 Florence-Darlington Tech (S.C.), after a 9-0 triumph against No. 4 Southeastern-Whiteville in elimination games earlier on Saturday. The Statesmen have completed their season with a final record of 31-15, the second-most wins in program history.
Against No. 2 Pitt in the winner-take-all Championship Finale, Richard Bland scored three runs on 11 hits … with one run each in the first, fourth and fifth innings of the heartbreaking setback as the nationally-ranked No. 17 Bulldogs scored the game-winning run in the sixth inning to break a 3-3 tie.
In the first, freshman Katie Haney/Burkeville singled with one out and scored on a two-out, RBI single by sophomore Kamryn Lanier/Chester. In the fourth, freshman Taylor Bilyard/Culpeper was hit by a pitch to open the frame and later crossed the plate via a two-out, RBI single by classmate Skyler Bagnall/Ivor. In the fifth, the Statesmen tied it at 3-3 on yet another clutch two-out, RBI single … this time by sophomore Kara Morris/Kents Store that plated classmate Brooklynn Bilyard/Culpeper, who had reached earlier on a fielder's choice.
Lanier was 3-4 with one RBI, Morris was 1-2 with one RBI and one walk, and Bagnall was 1-4 with one RBI. Haney was 2-4 with one run, freshman Allison Jarrett/Virginia Beach was 2-4, Brooklynn Bilyard was 1-4 with a double and one run, and Taylor Bilyard was 1-3 with one run.
Brooklynn Bilyard started in the circle and pitched the first 2.2 innings, allowing seven hits and two runs, both earned, with no strikeouts and no walks. Freshman Megan Vincent/Boykins (10-7) tossed the final 3.1 innings, scattering five hits and two runs, both earned, with one strikeout and one walk.
Against No. 2 Pitt in the must-win first championship contest, Richard Bland stayed alive by scoring seven runs on seven hits … with three runs each in both the fourth and fifth innings, and one run in the seventh toward the dramatic victory.
In the fourth, Bagnall walked to open the frame and scored from first on a sacrifice by Haney that included an error, allowing Haney to reach second base. Freshman Mary Simms/Orange followed with an RBI triple to score Haney, who had stolen third base before the hit, and with two outs, Simms crossed the plate via a run-scoring infield single by Jarrett.
In the fifth, Morris drew a one-out walk and scored when Haney reached on a fielder's choice sacrifice. Haney and Simms, who had also reached on a fielder's choice, both crossed the plate when Lanier provided an RBI single that included a fielding error on the play, as well.
In the seventh, Lanier added a two-out, solo home run to provide for the final three-run margin and force the winner-take-all finale.
Lanier was 2-4 with the home run, one run and two RBIs, Jarrett was 1-2 with one RBI and one walk, Haney was 0-2 with two sacrifices, two runs and one RBI, and Simms was 1-4 with a triple, two runs and one RBI.
Vincent (3) started in the circle, was replaced, but returned in relief to earn the save, pitching 2.2 scoreless innings and yielding two hits with no strikeouts and three walks. Freshman Joana Holland/Manassas (10-2) tossed 4.1 innings for the win, scattering four hits and four runs, two earned, with one strikeout and four walks.
Against No. 1 Florence-Darlington in the day's second elimination game, Richard Bland scored seven runs on 14 hits with one run each in the second and third innings, three runs in the sixth to tie it at 5-5, before adding two runs in the ninth inning for the upset win against the nationally-ranked No. 13 Stingers.
In the second, Jarrett had an RBI single to score freshman Caitlin Stout/Dinwiddie, who was pinch-running for Lanier, who had singled to open the frame. In the third, Haney had an RBI double to plate Bagnall, who had singled, as well. In the sixth, Bagnall doubled to score Morris, who had singled, before Simms evened the score with a two-run home run that plated Bagnall, as well.
In the ninth, Jarrett singled to open the frame and advanced to second on a sacrifice by Taylor Bilyard. Fritz followed with another sacrifice to move Jarrett to third, and both runners advanced a base on an error with Jarrett crossing the plate with the go-ahead run. Haney added a two-out, RBI single that scored sophomore Ashley Fritz/Chesterfield with another unearned run for the victory.
Bagnall was 3-5 with a double, two runs, one RBI and one walk, Simms was 2-5 with the home run, one run, two RBIs and one walk, and Haney was 2-6 with a double and two RBIs. Jarrett was 2-4 with one run, one RBI and one walk, Brooklynn Bilyard was 2-4 with a sacrifice and Lanier was 2-4 with a walk.
Brooklynn Bilyard started in the circle and pitched the first 1.2 innings, yielding five hits and five runs, four earned, with one strikeout and two walks. Vincent (10-6) hurled the final 7.1 scoreless innings for the win, scattering five hits with five strikeouts and two walks.
Against No. 4 Southeastern-Whiteville in the day's first elimination game, Richard Bland scored nine runs on 13 hits … with one run in the third inning, two runs in the fourth, one run in the fifth and five runs in the seventh inning toward the shutout victory.
In the third, Bagnall doubled to open the frame and later scored on a sacrifice by Simms. In the fourth, Brooklynn Bilyard reached on an error and crossed the plate courtesy of another fielding error that allowed Jarrett to reach base, and Jarrett scored on a sacrifice by Fritz. In the fifth, Simms reached on a fielder's choice and crossed the plate via an RBI single by Brooklynn Bilyard.
In the seventh, Lanier, Brooklynn Bilyard, Taylor Bilyard and Bagnall each contributed run-scoring singles, while Jarrett provided a sacrifice fly RBI. Scoring runs were Haney (reached on error), Simms (singled), Lanier, Brooklynn and Taylor Bilyard.
Fritz was 3-3 with the sacrifice, two triples and one RBI, Bagnall was 3-5 with a double, one run and one RBI, and Brooklynn Bilyard was 2-4 with one run, one RBI and one stolen base. Lanier was 2-4 with one run, one RBI and one stolen base, Simms was 1-3 with the sacrifice, two runs and one RBI, Taylor Bilyard was 1-4 with one run and one RBI, and Jarrett was 0-3 with the sac fly, one run and one RBI.
Holland (9-2) started in the circle and pitched the complete-game, 7.0-inning shutout, yielding just two hits with a career-high eight strikeouts and two walks.
Kamryn Lanier and Megan Vincent were each named to the All-Tournament Team for their respective efforts over the seven games played in two days. Lanier hit .630 (17-27) with one home run, two doubles, three runs, eight RBIs, one walk and two stolen bases. Vincent was 1-2 with two saves, posting a 1.27 ERA over 22.0 innings with 10 strikeouts … making five appearances with two starts while scattering 18 hits with six runs, four earned.
Richard Bland completed the campaign as Region 10, District F Tournament runners-up for the second-straight season, and for the third time in four years.