The game was certainly closer than the final score indicated, but for William Monroe, Bluestone was too much to handle down the home stretch. The Dragons, who came into the year with one senior, had a breakout season and earned a Region B bid in the process. But with a 7-1 defeat at the hands of the Barons, Monroe’s season came to end.
“We just tried to hit the ball in the middle all game,” said Bluestone coach Roy Moore. “We relaxed, tried to stay on it, but we just didn’t have a solid hit until the fifth. Tonight, that third time around the order, we adjusted.”
With McKenzie Flora throwing four innings of shutout softball, Monroe was able to start strong and get out in front 1-0 in the top of the third. A hit batter and a pair of walks loaded the bases. That allowed Storey Collier to deliver a sacrifice fly.
“It was a battle with us going up by one in the fourth and then they took a 1-run lead in the fifth,” said Monroe coach Chad Roach. “But then they strung the hits together and we just couldn’t get out of the seventh inning. I give them the credit, especially to (Krystyn Owen) who gave up one hit. She was the big difference maker.”
Bluestone’s offense came to life in the fifth innings after a walk, single and 2-run double from Bridget Bass, the James River District’s player of the year. Then in the seventh, the Barons put the game out of reach with a 5-run rally on three singles, two doubles (including another from Bass), a sacrifice and an error.
Conversely, Owen was on point all game in the circle for Bluestone, giving up just one hit and allowing six base runners while striking out 13 batters.
“I told her tonight was her night so just to go out, have fun and relax,” Moore said. “This is our first region tournament win, so we’re waiting for it to sink in.”
Devan Myers had the lone hit for the Dragons. Monroe returns its entire roster minus Kelsie Short who graduates.
“We got to the first round, we’re losing one senior and so obviously we expect to be able to go farther next year,” Roach said. “Everyone except Kelsie is coming back, but we’re going to miss her. She’s been such a leader on and off the field.”
Bluestone advances to face JRD rival Goochland on the road in the Region B semifinals on Wednesday.