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Rye Cove tops Eastside for first softball state title; Pioneers, Warriors finish runner-up

(WJHL) – Saturday saw a sixth and final meeting of the season between Cumberland District softball foes Eastside and Rye Cove.

The Lady Spartans had taken four of the five previous meetings on the year. But, in the VHSL Class 1 championship, the Lady Eagles used a strong sixth inning to claim the school’s first softball title, 5-0.

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Rye Cove’s Eden Muncy and Eastside’s Emma Sartin were locked in pitcher’s duel for the first five innings of the game, with neither team earning more than a few base runners.

With the contest still scoreless into the sixth inning, Muncy line a double down the left field line to put herself in scoring position. Gracie Turner, Kenzie Hood and Maddy Wood followed that up with back-to-back-to-back RBI base knocks, giving Rye Cove a 3-0 lead.

Gracie Byrd legged out an infield single, which scored two more runs and extended the Lady Eagles’ lead to 5-0.

Muncy took over from there, recording 12 total strikeouts, including the final out to seal the championship victory.

“You know, give thanks to the Good Lord,” head coach Nick Hood said. “We come here last year and we didn’t win, you know. The goal was to get back here – and we did that. Then the next goal was to win it all.”

“We dreamed of being here since Day 1,” Muncy explained. “[Auburn] won last year – we wanted to be here. It’s overwhelming with emotions and everybody – the fans, the team the coaches – everybody is so joyful.”

“I don’t even know how to describe it to you guys,” Turner admitted. “But, I knew that this would happen today. I knew that – I knew we wanted it bad enough to make it happen.”

The Lady Spartans of Eastside finish the season with an impressive 28-2 record as state runner-up.

In Class 2 baseball, Lebanon looked to capture back-to-back state championships – and the program’s third in four years – as they battled Poquoson.

The Pioneers beat the Islanders in 2021 for the trophy, but couldn’t do the same on Saturday. Poquoson claimed an extra-innings thriller, 2-1 in ten innings from Salem.

The Islanders scored first in the bottom of the second on a fielder’s choice, but the Pioneers responded in the fifth frame with an RBI from Dagan Barton.

That’s how the score would remain until David Rose played the hero in the tenth.

“We came out here and we fought hard for 10 innings,” Lebanon head coach Cody Compton said. “We had a few opportunities that we weren’t able to capitalize on, but that’s just part of part of the game. I mean they battled, and, in the end, they got the hit when they needed it, and we weren’t able to.”

On that same field later in the day, Chilhowie and Rappahannock went toe-to-toe for the Class 1 baseball title. The Raiders took the crown in walk-off fashion with a bases-loaded RBI single in the seventh inning, winning 6-5.

Jayden Schwartz opened the scoring for the Warriors in the first inning with a pair of RBI. Then, trailing 5-2 in the final inning, Bradon Miller helped knot the game, 5-5, with a 2-RBI knock himself.

The Raiders scored in the bottom of the seventh to complete the comeback win.

“This is a second walk off loss of the state championship we’ve had and so, I guess some people might say we’re cursed but I still think we’re blessed,” Warriors head coach Jeff Robinson said afterwards. “I’m glad these guys got to experience this game. And they brought a lot of pride to our town and our school, and I couldn’t be happier for them, but this was one’s tough but it’s part of it.”

The Warriors finish the season with a record of 22-2.

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