Colonials Roll On Senior Day
By David Breidenbach, Correspondent
May 21, 2014, 13:13
Colonial Heights senior captains Ashley Schoot, Savannah Couch, and Amber Harris meet with the umpires and their Meadowbrook counterparts just prior to the start of the game.
COLONIAL HEIGHTS—After a brief Senior Night ceremony at the Civic Field Tuesday night in which the Colonials paid tribute to its four senior members, the team took a minimum amount of game time to send them on their way with a 12-0, 5-inning victory over visiting Meadowbrook.
A mismatch from the start of the game, the Colonials came in riding a 10-1 hot streak since opening the season 2-4. Back in March Colonials Coach Chris Martin knew he had the potential for a good season, but he knew a few things were needed to round out the ball club.
Needless to say the team pulled it together.
The win pushes the Colonials’ record to 13-5; the loss drops Meadowbrook to 5-12.
First thing for the Colonials was the returning squad. Martin knew he had a good team coming back from the previous season, and he knew he had four great senior leaders: Savannah Couch catcher and shortstop; Ashley Schoot and Amber Harris who split time between pitcher and first base; and Hannah Burch in left field. Couch, who will attend Lincoln Memorial University on a full softball scholarship in the fall; Schoot, who will attend Virginia Tech; and Harris who will attend James Madison University are the team captains for this season.
“I promised Ashley she would start on Senior Night. She has pitched so many games for me over the years she deserved it. I told them (Schoot and Harris) they would split innings, and I wanted to give all the seniors a chance to do things on the field in front of their families and friends,” Martin said.
Pitching is a critical element for a good softball team. The Colonials had the solid and savvy Schoot coming back, and also had Harris who had not pitched since middle school due to injury. The first few games were a bit rocky, as the Colonials had a hard time separating themselves from the pack and a miscue here and there cost them three tight one-run ball games.
But as the season wore on, Harris started to regain the form she had in middle school and now looks like she has completely returned to the circle. She sports a 9-4 record, and a monstrous 1.33 earned run average. Schoot has been just as effective earning four wins with only one loss.
“At the beginning of the season we weren’t playing bad ball but we weren’t playing complete team ball. We are a completely different team now. We are hitting the ball hard and Amber is throwing BBs,” Martin said.
Once things start clicking for a team, the momentum can carry them a long way. This team, Martin said, has been one of his best in the past 10 years. Double digit statistics in the win column are hard to come by in Colonial Heights, and the Colonials over the years have proven to be middle of the road teams. This year; however, they have turned that into a successful team that is hard to beat and the pitching staff is as much responsible for that as anyone on the team.
This season, for instance, for the first time in years the team won games against perennial softball powers Dinwiddie and Matoaca in the same week. Martin said they had not been able to touch Dinwiddie in at least three years, and against Matoaca the drought was more like five years.
“We have only done this twice in the 10 years I have been associated with the team. We’ve always been a .500 team. This is kind of fun. We lost three one-run ball games earlier in the season that if they went our way we could have been 17-2,” Martin said.
Amber Harris turns on a pitch in the first inning for a double.
Both pitchers were in form Tuesday night against Meadowbrook, as they held the Lady Monarchs to no runs and a pair of singles. Schoot earned the win as the starter, and Harris stepped into the circle in the third inning to close things out. Couch split time between shortstop and catcher in order to be behind the plate for each of her teammates and friends.
While the pitching and fielding were holding things together in the field, the Colonials also got some timely hitting at the plate. They scored three runs in the first inning, five in the second, one in the third, and three more in the fourth to shorten the game to five innings by the 10-run differential rule.
Harris also made a difference at the plate, going 2-for-2 with a double, home run, and three runs batted in (RBIs); Sophia Keene also had two hits in two trips to the plate, scoring twice and collecting a pair of RBIs; and Emily Bartholomew had a pair of triples in three at bats for the Colonials, collecting one RBI.
“If we beat Prince George tomorrow (Wednesday) night, there will be three (former) district champions in our conference playoffs. I told the players to just keep playing hard. If you play your game and keep mistakes to a minimum you don’t have to worry about the results,” Martin said.
Conference 25 championships start next week. Had the VHSL not changed from the former districts to the current conferences, three of the teams in Conference 25 would have been district champions this season. Providing the Colonials can secure a win against Prince George, which would have made them the Central District champions; York would have won the old Bay Rivers District; and Park View would have won the former Tri Rivers District.
“We’ve got some work to do. We have to continue to play well,” Martin said.