Sterling, Va. (May 4, 2016) — The rains came, and went, and came back again – but they couldn’t completely stop the sports Tuesday night at Dominion High School as the Wolverines of Woodgrove High School traversed the county to take on the Titans in softball, baseball and girls’ soccer.
Softball got cancelled, the diamond rendered unplayable by the persistent falling water. Baseball got underway an hour late, got in nearly four well-played innings and got stopped again, not to restart. Over on the soccer pitch, the ball flecked up mud as it bounded along, but the girls got in the full 80 minutes for both the JV and the varsity tilts.
If you had an umbrella (and didn’t have to lug around a couple really expensive cameras (Aaron Wyche)), it was an intriguing evening of Purcellville-vs-Sterling sports.
Girls soccer: Dominion 1, Woodgrove 0
The Titans must be glad Breanna Mitchell is back. The speedy superstar was laid up for five months (!) with a broken heel, suffered in November, that required a surgically-inserted screw. She’s only been back for five games – but she sure is back.
The senior, recently committed to play for Elon University next fall, produced the only goal of the game against Woodgrove – and her heel looked just fine doing so.
In the fifth minute of the second half, Mitchell charged toward the goalie box and eluded one defender. She nudged it past the goalie, rolling it toward the boundary line. It looked like it would surely trickle out of bounds, giving Woodgrove a goal kick – but Mitchell turned on the jets, outraced the ball to the line and deftly redirected it into the net.
“We’re starting to work together as a team,” Mitchell said. “Going forward, we have the talent to do really well.”
A few minutes later, Dominion keeper Eryn Dolan made a charging, sprawling save to prevent the tying goal. Not long after that, Woodgrove’s freshman defender Rachel Chatfield earned oohs when she made a diving kick-save to knock away a sure-fire Titan goal.
“Woodgrove has a back line with Darby Stephens and Hailey Dunster that’s about as good as anybody in the league,” said Dominion head coach Mike Reles, before directing his praise at his own back line. “But we made a decision to stick with the same back four all season – Skylar Bickart, Taylor Hoston, Emily Wajgras and Meghan Hale. As the season’s gone on, they’ve developed a greater comfort and they play very well together.”
JV girls soccer: Dominion 0, Woodgrove 0
The Wolverines dominated possession, keeping the ball in their court for much of the contest. Woodgrove had a pair of scoring chances around the 27-minute mark, including a clang off the goalpost.
But the Titans didn’t break, keeping their net clean as the junior varsity tussle ended in a scoreless deadlock.
“We’re happy with the result. Woodgrove’s always a good team,” said Dominion head coach Mike Pinkston. “We’re kind of disappointed that we didn’t put any balls in the net, but we’re satisfied that they didn’t score either.”
Pinkston noted the advanced play of freshmen Rosie Banks, a defender, and Bella Silva, a forward. Another freshman, Josmin Bonilla, has already been called up to varsity.
Dominion’s Michaella Bono and Woodgrove’s Maddie Malonis both earned shutouts on the night.
Baseball: Dominion 2, Woodgrove 2
That’s not a typo. That’s actually a tie – a tie…in baseball.
The anathema occurred when the game was suspended in the bottom of the fourth, an inning in which the Titans had rallied to knot things with two runs and had the go-ahead score at third base.
When that runner raced homeward on a foul tapper, slid and skidded about ten feet along the wet, muddy baseline, that’s when the men in blue put a halt to it. The non-conference contest will
not be resumed, and will go into the record books as (odd though it may be) a tie be resumed Monday, May 9, at Dominion.
Dominion head coach Jeff Berg was pleased that his team fought back with that truncated rally just as the skies opened back up.
“That’s kind of been our M.O. of our team this year. Our kids don’t give up,” Berg said. “We have a good core of seniors that have led us this whole way, and we have some young talent too. We’re headed in the right direction.”
Woodgrove’s Ryan Miles and Dominion’s Brendan Anderson dueled on the mound. Anderson was an escape artist, stranding several Wolverines in scoring position. Miles got to him for a hard-hit 2-RBI single in the third, but the Titan senior otherwise kept the visitors at bay.
Adam Branch and Jack Shepherd came up with RBI singles in the fourth (and, it turned out, final) inning, the only demerits against Miles.
“He’s a gritty kid,” said Woodgrove head coach Rusty Smith of Miles, a junior receiving Division I collegiate interest. “Tonight, he comes out and throws strikes. The last inning you got to take with a grain of salt, wet ball and everything. He pitched his butt off like he always does.”
Prior to the game, Berg took a moment to address the crowd in recognition of his team’s annual Cancer Awareness Night. The Titans rocked pink socks and shoelaces to show their support, and Berg told the assemblage that 1.6 million people will receive a life-changing diagnosis this year, a diagnosis that he said has affected his family too.
“Our Community Relations Committee put on this night to raise awareness for cancer around Mother’s Day,” said Berg, who made certain to recognize the moms in the crowd during his brief speech. “We think our guys need to be involved in stuff outside of baseball.”
Softball: Titans make a pitcher
Coming into this spring, the Titan softball team had exactly zero players with any pitching experience. They’ve changed that.
Cam Shulsinger has come on strong as Dominion’s top option in the circle, earning the praise of her head and pitching coaches.
“She’s getting better at the fundamentals of pitching at the varsity level,” said Dominion pitching coach Bob Thomas, who has Shulsinger working on a changeup.
Head coach Gary Temple agreed.
“She’s come a long way,” he said of Shulsinger, a junior. “She’s learning to locate all of her pitches better.”
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