In just a few years, the Rockville softball program has grown by leaps and bounds, met with quick success, and galvanized a quintessential American community.
Rockville seemed poised Saturday for a historic day at the Babe Ruth Southeast Regional Softball Tournament at RF&P Park in Glen Allen.
The 8U, 10U and 16U teams all survived round-robin play on Thursday and Friday to make their respective semifinals. But as Saturday morning marched into afternoon, one team at a time, Rockville’s hopes for a first-ever trip to the Babe Ruth World Series came to a disappointing reality.
It began with the 8U squad, who went 2-2 in qualifiers, facing Davidson County, N.C., who split two opening games with New Kent. Rockville and New Kent were co-state champions after their scheduled title game was cancelled due to storms. Rockville managed their second-best offensive output of the tournament, but their pitching was hit hard, as Davidson County won 14-6. Davidson lost in Sunday’s final to champion Pitt County, N.C., which went unbeaten in the tourney.
For Rockville 10U, who went 2-1 Thursday and Friday, winning a tiebreaker with two of the three other teams in their division landed them in Saturday’s semifinal against a familiar foe, the Summit Point Tsunami. Rockville beat Summit Point in the state finals two weeks earlier, 7-1. But the Tsunami took full advantage of Rockville mistakes to avenge that defeat and eliminate Rockville from the Regionals by a count of 7-2.
“Summit Point played a very solid game. They made fewer mistakes and it paid off for them,” said 10U head coach Chad Radcliffe. “We had six errors and all but one cost us runs.”
Summit Point captured the Region crown, handing Pitt County their only loss of the 10U tournament Sunday, 9-2.
Rockville’s final hopes rested on the 16U team. As morning became afternoon, they, too, found themselves in a rematch of their state tournament win, facing New Kent one more time. Rockville came from behind to win the state crown, but couldn’t duplicate the feat in the Regionals, falling by a score of 4-2. New Kent went on to lose the Regional final to Winter Park, Fla., 6-5.
In spite of a very disappointing Saturday, 2013 will be remembered as another historic season for the Rockville softball program, with nothing to be ashamed of. That is the sentiment of their leaders, who are excited, for good reason, about the program’s future.
“These girls have played and worked very hard,” Radcliffe said. “It’s great to see them progress and succeed through hard work. We are all very proud of them!”
Atlee softball wins state little league tournament
The Atlee 9-10 year-old softball team captured the 2013 Virginia State Little League Softball Tournament on Tuesday afternoon. The tournament, held in Lebanon, saw Atlee make the finals in sweeping fashion, winning their quarterfinal Monday over Bennetts Creek 14-1, then taking their semifinal Tuesday morning 12-3 over Frederick County prior to their championship victory.
Atlee’s closest game came in the first round when they came from behind to beat McLean 3-2. They breezed past Gate City 11-2 to win the championship.