CHRISTIANSBURG — Abby Weaver was a one-woman wrecking crew for Cave Spring softball on Friday night.
The junior pitcher hurled a six-hit shutout from the mound while also providing all the offense the Knights would need in a 2-0 victory over Salem in the River Ridge District Tournament title game at Christiansburg High School.
Weaver struck out 12 Salem hitters as she picked up her second victory in two nights after pitching a shutout in Cave Spring’s semifinal win over Christiansburg on Thursday.
“I actually felt pretty good. I was mentally prepared for this because we played a lot of back-to-back games last season,” Weaver said.
Things got off to a rocky start for Weaver in the first when Salem got runners on second and third with just one out. However, the right-hander responded with back-to-back strikeouts of the Spartans’ Lily Lawson and Kendra Bolen to end the threat.
“We’ve worked our way out of a lot of jams like that this season. We just don’t panic when people get on,” Cave Spring coach Nick Sharp said.
Through the game’s first two innings, Weaver was matched pitch for pitch by Salem hurler Reagan Owens, but in the third Weaver was able to crack the scoreboard with an RBI single to right that scored Taylor Loving from second to make it 1-0.
“I knew she [Owens] was throwing it outside to me and I had a runner on second, so I just wanted to get it on the ground to the right side,” Weaver said.
Weaver added an insurance run for Cave Spring (18-5) in the sixth when she scored on a Spartan fielding error after leading off the inning with a double.
“She [Weaver] likes the pressure. These games are perfect for her,” Sharp said.
Salem (8-15) actually outhit the Knights six to four and had runners in scoring position in each of the last three innings, but the Spartans could n’t get anyone across home plate.
“Both pitchers pitched a fantastic game,” Salem coach John Counts said. “We just couldn’t get that big hit in. I told my kids after the game it came down to the last at-bat and we had the tying run at the plate. We were in the game the whole way.”
With a runner on second in the seventh, Salem’s Haley Smith grounded out to first to end the game.
The Spartans are still not sure what their fate will be when it comes to taking part in regional play next week, but Counts is pleased with his team’s late season surge, which included a 4-3 upset win over top-seeded Blacksburg in Thursday’s other semifinal.
“With the way we’ve improved over the past few weeks, I couldn’t be prouder,” Counts said.
On the other hand, Christiansburg does know its regional fate and it will involve a familiar opponent. The Knights are scheduled to host Christiansburg next Thursday in what will be the fourth matchup for the district rivals this season.
“It’s crazy how that works,” Sharp said. “It’s intriguing when you play the same team a bunch and they get to know you. It’s a different dynamic with the familiarity on both sides.”
Salem 000 000 0 — 0 6 2
Cave Spring 001 001 0 — 2 4 2
W – Abby Weaver. L – Reagan Owens.