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The victory tour continues.
The Atlee softball team manhandled Varina 16-0 in five innings Tuesday evening to improve their overall record to 8-0. The Raiders are 5-0 in the Capital District.
Seven first-inning runs set the stage for the rout as freshman third baseman Raine Wilson went 4-for-4, scoring three times. The Blue Devils were a definitive step down in competition from Atlee’s Monday opponent, when the Raiders hosted county and district rival Hanover in a game postponed from March 26.
Jessica Holte, the bedrock of the team, kept the Hawks in check by striking out 11 en route to another shutout win, this time by a 6-0 count. Holte only
allowed two Hanover hits.
“We were strong in pretty much every aspect of the game,” said Atlee head coach John Earley. “It was a great effort and a big win over a quality team.”
The Raiders scored one run in each of the first two innings, then exploded for four in the third. Wilson singled to lead off the frame, moved to second on a passed ball, then to third on a Blair Jones single. After Jones stole second, with two outs, Taylor Sutherland laced a single to bring around both runners. A Shelby Hill single followed, and Holte finished the scoring with a two-RBI double deep in the gap in left center field.
Hanover head coach Brian Letourneau gave the credit to the southpaw in the circle.
“I think the credit goes more to Holte. She pitched very effectively. She hit the outside corner both at the top and bottom of the strike zone, changed speeds well, and changed our batters’ eye levels working low and then up, and out of the zone when ahead in the count,” Letourneau said. “In addition, we didn’t have many base runners, and one inning (7th) was the only time our lead off batter reached base. That made it challenging to score multiple runs once we fell behind.”
It also aided the Raiders that when the Hawks did hit the ball hard in early at-bats, the ball was always destined to sail straight to an Atlee defender, whose defense again came up strong when necessary.
After a non-district trip Wednesday to Hermitage, Atlee gets a rare six-day break for late April to prepare for a trip to talented and hungry Glen Allen.
Hanover, now 2-2 in the Capital District and just 2-3 overall, has a packed schedule ahead, which Letourneau sees as ripe with opportunity for his team to again rise from early season adversity, which was their script in 2012.
“Our veteran players realize that we were in the same position last year (losing on the road to both Atlee and Lee-Davis early in district play), and that through hard work day in and day out, we were able to start playing more consistent softball,” he said. “We’ll keep our focus on playing better each day. We’ve got nine games in the next two and a half weeks, so we have plenty of opportunity and softball left to play.”
That stretch began Wednesday (after presstime) in non-district play against Deep Run, and continues at home Friday versus Highland Springs and Tuesday at Varina.
IN COLONIAL DISTRICT ACTION, Patrick Henry remains unbeaten and atop the standings at 6-0, thanks to a 6-0 shutout of Douglas Freeman Tuesday night. The Patriots picked up a run in the fourth, then four more in the fifth to break the game open, taking advantage of five Rebel errors. Hunter Glave scored twice and speedy right fielder Brianna Woody scored once as Candace Whittemore again went the distance in the circle to help the Patriots improve to 7-2 overall. Patrick Henry travels to Maggie Walker Governor’s School Thursday afternoon.