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Langley Softball Gearing for District Tourney

Saxons hope to continue high level of play into the playoffs.

As the spring softball season continues to move on into the final weeks of the regular season, the Langley High girls’ team continues to win ball games on a regular basis.

And with the start of the postseason right around the corner, the Saxons certainly look to be a team that will be in the running for Liberty District and Northern Region crowns.

Langley, which was 15-3 overall and 10-2 in district play heading into this week, is scheduled to wrap up its regular season schedule with games this week against Stone Bridge (home on Tuesday) and McLean (away this Friday night). The district tournament is scheduled to start next Wednesday (May 14).

"We’ve played real well," said Langley coach Bob Morrow, of the season overall. "We’ve had a little bit of a lull in the middle of the year."

Langley was hurt with an injury to senior catcher Christina Bumpus, who broke a bone in her hand several weeks ago while making a head first slide. Coach Morrow and the Saxons are hoping Bumpus, who has been regulated to pinch-running duties in recent games, will be back handling the backstop duties for Langley by the postseason.

Prior to the injury, Bumpus was playing outstanding from her catcher position and was also helping the Saxons offensively by swinging the bat well at the plate.

"The injury was unfortunate," said Morrow. "She was kind of hitting her stride."

Bumpus is the program’s fourth year varsity catcher. She dealt with shoulder problems last year, but has come back strong from that.

"This year, she was fully recovered," said Morrow, of his No. 2 hitter in the batting order. "As a catcher she has always done well. This year, she was hitting real well."

Bumpus will attend Auburn University next school year.

<b>COACH MORROW</b> stressed that his team’s success this season has been a result of production from its entire line-up, one through nine.

"Throughout the year we’ve gotten key hitting from different players," said Morrow. "We’ve gotten contributions from every one, one game or another."

The Saxons are receiving a stellar overall season from senior shortstop Kelsey Green, who has already earned a scholarship to play the sport at the University of North Carolina next school year.

"At shortstop, she’s been amazing defensively," said Morrow, of Green’s season. "She’s taken away base hits [with her glove work]. At bat, she’s hitting close to .500."

Green, who usually hits No. 3 in the Langley line-up, played left field as a freshmen a few years ago. But since then, she has been the Saxon’s shortstop and has thrived at the position.

Also putting together a nice season for the Saxons is senior center fielder Lindsay Brown, a third year varsity starter. Brown, in past years, has played the infield with her club teams. As an outfielder for the Saxons in recent seasons, she has thrived. In Langley’s 2-1 district win over Madison last Friday night, Brown made a sensational running catch for one of the game’s best defensive plays.

"She’s really learned how to play the outfield," said Morrow.

Brown, who wants to play softball collegiately next year, hits No. 5 in the Langley line-up.

Another key outfielder for Langley has been senior left fielder Hannah Shatzen, who is in her first season as a full-time starter.

"She’s really come on this year," said Morrow, of Shatzen. "She has lots of athletic ability. She’s probably been one of our hardest hitters the last few weeks."

Shatzen knocked the game-winning double in Friday’s win over Madison in the bottom of the seventh, breaking a 1-1 tie.

Earlier in the inning, Langley junior right fielder Lauren Engel doubled. Bumpus pinch ran for Engle, and ultimately scored on the Shatzen two-bagger.

The win puts Langley at or near the top of the regular season district standings.

<b>ON THE MOUND</b> this season, Langley starting pitcher Emily Willis, a senior, has put together a solid spring. Morrow has also utilized the abilities of sophomores Brooke Brown and Shannon Engle out of the bullpen.

"Its been pitching by committee," said Morrow. "Emily is our No. 1 pitcher and our sophomores have been getting more work in recent weeks. They’ve all been generally real effective."

Willis went 4-1/3 strong innings against Madison before Brown threw the final 2-2/3 innings to pick up the win in relief.

It marked the second time this season in which Langley has defeated Madison in a down-to-the-wire game. Earlier in the season at Madison, the Saxons defeated the Warhawks in a nine-inning affair.

Langley will need to close out the regular season strong if it hopes to be the No. 1 seed at districts. The Saxons are meeting Stone Bridge and McLean this week, two teams that defeated Langley in earlier meetings this season.

"It will be a pretty tight district race," said Morrow. "We have a very competitive district."