For the second straight day, the William Byrd softball team scored a run in the bottom of the seventh inning to win in dramatic fashion.
This time, the Terriers celebrated not just a victory but their first state softball crown.
Megan Grant scored on an error with one out in the bottom of the seventh to give the Terriers a 3-2 win over Woodgrove in the Class 4 state title game Friday at the Moyer Sports Complex in Salem.
“It feels absolutely amazing going out with such a … huge bang at the end of my senior year,” said Grant, an Elon signee.
The Terriers (20-6) mobbed Grant at home plate.
“I believe that we just won!” they later chanted.
In Thursday’s semifinals, William Byrd beat Great Bridge 3-2 on Morgan Icard’s sacrifice fly in the bottom of the seventh.
What is it with all the final-inning drama?
“It comes down to the line, but I guess that’s what we live for,” winning pitcher Jada Karnes said. “That’s Byrd softball, coming down to the line in the postseason.”
William Byrd lost to Woodgrove 1-0 in last year’s semifinals.
“Being there last year was absolutely terrible,” junior Bri Hodges said. “I remember crying with the seniors.
“I cried with seniors again, but this time it was happy tears. … I have to keep reminding myself that this is actually happening.”
The Terriers lost several standouts on last year’s team to graduation, including ace Mara Strum. But they made it back to the state tournament and claimed the trophy.
“There’s no better feeling than this,” said senior Sydney Burton, who had two doubles and scored twice. “We worked all year for it. No one thought we could do it but us.
“We came on this field with the mindset that we weren’t leaving without that trophy, and that’s exactly what we did.”
The Wolverines (22-6), who were seeking their fourth straight state crown, made the state title game for the ninth straight year. This was William Byrd’s first appearance in the state final.
After losing to Woodgrove in last year’s semifinals, the Terriers relished getting the win in the rematch.
“We were coming out for a little bit of revenge,” Grant said.
Camryn Dolby, who threw a no-hitter in Woodgrove’s win over William Byrd last year, pitched for Boston College this year.
The Wolverines could have used Dolby on Friday. The Terriers banged out a total of nine hits against two Woodgrove pitchers.
The score was tied 2-2 entering the seventh.
Woodgrove reliever Jaimee Hardy hit Grant with a pitch. After Karnes smacked a one-out double, Hodges was intentionally walked to load the bases.
A nervous Burton stepped to the plate.
“I don’t even think I felt my heart pumping,” Burton said. “I don’t even think I saw [the pitch]. I just closed my eyes and hoped it went.”
She hit a fly ball that left fielder Carly Bradley misplayed, with Grant scoring on the error.
Karnes (16-6) pitched a two-hitter. The Roanoke College recruit struck out five and walked three.
“To win this in my last game of high school is a dream come true,” Karnes said. “I cannot believe it.
“I kept throwing them the curveball and they were swinging.”
Byrd took a 1-0 lead in the fourth. Burton doubled and Icard had an RBI single.
In the fifth, Bradley tripled and scored on a sacrifice fly to tie the game.
In the sixth, Woodgrove grabbed a 2-1 lead. When Maddie Milne hit the ball to center field, Hodges tried to make a diving catch. But she dropped the ball as she hit the ground, and St. John’s signee Max Barnes scored from second on the error.
With runners on first and third, Karnes retired Hardy on a fly ball to escape further damage.
The Terriers tied the game at 2 in the bottom of the inning.
After Burton doubled, Erin Courtemanche tried to bunt but popped the ball up. First baseman Shelbie Daughtry dropped the foul ball, however, giving Courtemanche a second chance.
This time, Terriers coach Greg Barton told Courtemanche to hit away and forget about bunting.
Courtemanche singled to right, and Burton scored when right fielder Grace Szalay misplayed the ball for an error.
“To get that hit for the team really meant a lot to me,” said Courtemanche, a sophomore. “I really got lucky to get a second chance and I really tried to make the best of it.”