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Riverside and Woodgrove softball win Virginia state semifinals

Woodgrove’s flawless season reached its final gasp on Friday afternoon in Crozet, Virginia. Trailing Hanover by one run in the bottom of the seventh inning, the Wolverines were one out away from a disappointing finish in the Virginia Class 4 semifinals.

One stroke later, the Wolverines could breathe again. Junior Erynn Thompson lifted a ball over the center field wall for a stunning two-run walk-off home run and the 4-3 win, sending her team back to the state championship game. Undefeated Woodgrove will take on Jefferson Forest in the Class 4 bracket Saturday morning at Western Albemarle High.

“When I hit first base, (assistant coach David Stokes) said to me, ‘Touch ’em all, 13!’ said Thompson. “That’s when it really dawned on me.”

The junior, who battled his way back into Woodgrove’s lineup after offseason surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome, produced the team’s third goal of the afternoon to give the Wolverines a win. Coach Joe Spicer’s team entered Friday’s semifinals having allowed just four runs all season thanks to the arm of senior ace Abbey Lane, but fell into an early 3-0 hole Friday. At the plate, the Wolverines didn’t have a baserunner until the third inning.

Lane, who struck out 14 batters and held Hanover scoreless over the final four innings, sent a double past third base in the fourth and later scored to pull the Wolverines (25-0) closer. Freshman Taylor Harper scored on a wild pitch in the fifth inning, but Woodgrove was held scoreless in the sixth and needed a miracle in the seventh to keep its undefeated season alive.

It was provided by Thompson, the team’s strongest bat. After junior Aja Wheeler drew a walk and freshman Abbey Davis punched the tying run to second base, the stage was set for the junior’s heroics.

“It just stood there and went completely out,” Spicer said. “It’s one of those moments you live for in sports.”

Walk-off grand slam sends Riverside to Class 5 final

Just hours later in the Class 5 division, Riverside pulled off a stunning comeback victory on its own. The Rams (23-3) trailed Hickory by two runs with one out in the bottom of the seventh, but emerged victorious when senior Hailey Peterson hit a grand slam for a dramatic 6-4 victory.

“Honestly, it was surreal. … I thought I was dreaming for a moment,” Peterson said. “But I knew that as soon as I hit the ball, I thought, ‘I get to face my team,’ and that was the best feeling ever for me.” ”

The Rams meet Kellam on Saturday at Glen Allen High.

Peterson, one of Riverside’s three seniors, has been in similar situations before. The St. Joseph’s commit said she has been on the board deep into the seventh inning more times than she can count during her high school career and knew she had to make a move with her team’s season on the line.

With her senior high school season on the line, Peterson sent a no-doubt home run over the left field wall on the first pitch of the at-bat to propel the Rams to their first state title game.

Osbourn Park, Battlefield meet again in Class 6

Battlefield and Osbourn Park don’t have much scouting to do in preparation for Saturday’s Class 6 final. The Bobcats (24-2) and Yellow Jackets (19-7), who both advanced Friday afternoon, have played each other four times this season. A state title will be on the line at the fifth meet Saturday at Deep Run High.

Battlefield, which used a walk-off grounder by sophomore McKenzie Pittman to score two runs and beat Madison 4-3 on Friday afternoon, eliminated Osbourn Park in each of its previous games. Two of those games went to overtime; the others were decided by one point.

“We have shirts that say, ‘Refuse to lose,’” coach Mike Corbin said after the Bobcats’ comeback win over the Warhawks. “That mentality they have is incredible.”

Osbourn Park senior Sam Borrayo faced 13 batters in her team’s 7-2 victory over South Lakes in the first semifinal, advancing the Yellow Jackets to their first state championship game since 2017.

“The job is not done yet,” Borrayo said after the win.

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