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The Roanoke Times | File 2012
Ruthie Williams (batting) and her Northside teammates have scored at least five runs in all but two of their games.
The Roanoke Times | File 2012
Christine Phillips has been a standout pitcher for Floyd County. The Buffaloes are in the hunt for the Three Rivers District title.
Tuesday, May 7, 2013
The best softball team in the Blue Ridge District is also the best one in all of Timesland.
Northside, which has lost just one game all season, might have what it takes to win its second state title in four seasons.
With the regular season set to conclude next week, the Vikings are 16-1 and atop the Blue Ridge District with a 7-0 league mark.
The Vikings have reeled off 10 straight wins since falling 15-10 at Cave Spring on March 28, including a 4-0 victory over Cave Spring in their April 10 rematch and a 10-7 road win over fellow Blue Ridge District heavyweight Lord Botetourt on April 26.
Three of Northside’s district wins have been by just one run.
“We’ve had some really smart baserunning this year that’s helped us in close games,” coach Lynn Richmond said.
The prolific Vikings have scored at least five runs in all but two of their games. Their lineup includes Ruthie Williams, Kelsey Jarrett, Caitlyn Porterfield, Taylor Grubb and Amy Roberson.
“Ruthie has been an absolute big-time player when it comes to RBIs and hitting game-winning hits,” Richmond said.
Williams is also Northside’s ace. Ninth-grader Morgan Bruce sees action in the circle as well.
Lord Botetourt (13-3, 6-1) is the other contender for the Blue Ridge title. The Cavaliers will visit Northside in next week’s regular-season finale.
“We are mirror images of each other, with the way that we play and the athletes we have,” Lord Botetourt coach Cheryl Shockley said. “That Northside loss is something that we needed, to help us refocus.”
Kendra Wood is the Cavaliers’ ace. The lineup includes Skyler Dull and Kristen Toppel.
“We have a majority of juniors and seniors on the team. It’s exciting to know more than half of my team can drive to practice now,” Shockley said with a laugh.
Here’s a look at other district races.
Cave Spring (12-4, 5-1) and Salem (7-9, 5-1) are tied for first. They split their regular-season meetings.
The Knights have won six straight. Their lineup includes Cortney Cooper, Abby Beatty and Kylie Kent. Taylor Asimakopoulos is the ace.
“We’re not really deficient anywhere,” Cave Spring coach Nick Sharp said.
Salem’s lineup includes Samantha Smith, Sarah LaFrancois and Kelsey Johnson. Smith is the ace.
“We’re really just now starting to come around as a team,” coach Ron Reynolds said.
Blacksburg is 5-2 in the district but 0-2 against Cave Spring and Salem. The Bruins (9-5) have rematches looming against both teams. Their lineup includes Hailey Porth and Alanah Flad.
The district has a three-team race involving Auburn (13-2, 5-1), Floyd County (12-2, 5-1) and Glenvar (13-3, 5-2).
Glenvar lost its first meeting with Floyd County 8-0 but squashed the Buffaloes 10-0 in last week’s rematch.
Christine Phillips is Floyd’s ace, with Karlee Pendleton also handling pitching duties. The lineup includes Aimee Royal and Dani Harris. Defense had been a strong suit, but errors hurt the Buffaloes in the loss to Glenvar.
Glenvar’s ace is Eastern Mennonite recruit Cara Neikirk. The lineup includes Morgan Neal and ninth-graders Courtney Herron and Haley Green.
“We’ve got four freshmen who start, and every one of them are big contributors,” Glenvar coach Alan Bayse said.
Auburn split its two meetings with Glenvar but still has to play Floyd County twice.
Auburn has won eight straight. Ninth-grader Makayla Burlingame pitches the first half of each game, with Amber Linkous taking over for the final innings.
“Our pitching has been fantastic,” Auburn coach David Hurd said. “Last year we couldn’t stop anybody.”
Patrick County (11-6, 5-1), on an eight-game winning streak, is in first place.
The Cougars lineup includes Ebony Reynolds, Julia Hutchens and Katie Collins. Natalie Mitchell is the top pitcher.
Magna Vista (11-7, 4-2) and Tunstall are also Piedmont contenders. Magna Vista’s lineup includes Hannah Savedge and McKala Jarrell, with Martinsville transfer Jasmine Agee serving as the ace.
Defending regular-season champ Bassett is not a contender this year. Taylor Mabry has not pitched this season because of a labrum injury, but she recently returned to the lineup as the designated player.
James River (9-4, 4-0), on a six-game winning streak, is in first place.
Jessica Simmons and Abby Tincher have been doing the pitching. The lineup includes Jenna Sprinkle, Casie Hill and Alexis Breeding.
Franklin County (11-7, 5-1) and Halifax County, which also has one district loss, are the contenders. They split their regular-season series.
Franklin County’s lineup includes Mackenzie Chitwood and Logan Barbour. The ace is Hali Saul.
“I only have one senior starter. We’ll be even better next year,” coach Bryan Forbes said.
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