By Spencer DuPuis
Viva Loudoun High School Intern
Leesburg (May 24, 2014) – Heritage High School softball head coach John Dugger has helped to turn around a struggling softball program in his first season at the helm of the team as the Pride defeated the Sherando Warriors, 5-2, in the Conference 21 quarterfinal match up on May 23.
Sherando took an early lead with an inside-the-park homerun, but Heritage bounced right back as sophomore Kaly Winslow hit an RBI triple in the bottom of the first in her first game back from an injury, a seemingly common occurrence among Heritage softball players early in the season.
“We just kept practicing every day,” Dugger said of overcoming early losses and injuries. “We just kept focusing and working on communication and effort. They’ve all come forth and done a lot of really hard work, and I think that it’s evident in the improvements that they’ve made from last year to this this year.”
In the second, Pride pitcher Emily McCarty settled in in the circle getting out of the inning one-two-three.
In the bottom of the second, Pride sophomore Courtney Shea answered Sherando’s inside-the-park home run with one of her own, with no hesitation rounding third and ignoring coach Dugger’s stop sign and getting to the plate just before the ball.
According to Dugger his thoughts when Shea rounded third ignoring his stop sign was “Oh my goodness what is she doing?”
Nonetheless, Shea crossed the plate giving the Pride a 2-1 lead from which they never looked back.
With the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the third, the Pride added another run when Sherando’s pitcher walked one home making it 3-1.
In the top of the fifth, McCarty gave up a pair of base hits before the Warriors brought home another run making it 3-2. Sherando seemed to be back on track but their rally was cut short after Shea threw a runner out trying to steal second to end the top half of the fifth.
Adding insurance runs in the bottom of the fifth, Pride sophomore Kylie James came off the bench and added an RBI triple and then a wild pitch scored her a batter later making it 5-2 Pride.
Heritage advances to the Conference 21 semifinals on Tuesday where they will take on powerhouse Woodgrove High School in Purcellville at 6 p.m.