Going into the final week of the regular season, the Park View High girls’ softball team was vying for second place in the Dulles District standings.
The Patriots were scheduled to close out the season with district games against Briar Woods and Freedom on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively. But with the recent rainy weather, there were no guarantees the games would get in.
The district tournament is scheduled to get started this Friday night. Park View needed wins over both Briar Woods and Freedom to secure a No. 2 seeding for the tournament. Going into this week’s action, the Patriots and Loudoun County were tied for second in the district standings behind first place Broad Run.
Last week, Park View (11-5 overall record, 9-3 in the district) split a pair of games, falling to Broad Run, 7-0, on May 6, before defeating non-district opponent Oakton High, 7-1, two days later.
Against powerful Broad Run, Park View managed one hit off of senior pitcher Caitlyn Delahaba, who did allow three walks. The lone Patriot base hit came off the bat of freshman Robin Heironimus.
Broad Run scored all of its runs with two outs. In the first inning, the Spartans scored four runs with two outs. Later, in the third inning, they put up three more with two outs. The biggest hit of the game for Broad Run was a three-run homer by Anna Blessing in the third inning, a blast that soared over the center field fence.
Getting behind on the scoreboard early against Broad Run and Delahaba, who is perhaps the best pitcher in the metropolitan area, is nearly impossible to overcome. And indeed, the Patriots were not able to plate any runs.
<b>BUT IT WAS</b> a different story against Oakton, a member of the Concorde District within the Northern Region. Behind a solid starting outing from senior pitcher Laura Heironimus, the Patriots came away with a victory. Park View, leading 2-1, broke things open by scoring five runs in the sixth inning.
Oakton was limited to just four hits throughout the game. When the Cougars did get some players on base, Heironimus did a good job of getting outs and keeping the Cougars from doing much damage.
"She did a real nice job," said Park View coach Ed Abner, of his pitching ace. "She just kept closing out the innings."
Park View is excited about the upcoming district tournament. Broad Run has already clinched the regular season title and will be one of two teams to represent the Dulles District at the upcoming Region II playoffs. Park View is hoping to be that second team from the district to move on to regionals. But the Patriots must at least reach the finals of the Dulles tourney.
A year ago, Park View lost its chance to make regionals after losing in the district tournament semifinals to Loudoun County, a team it had beaten twice in the regular season. Park View did make it to regionals two years ago, but lost to William Monroe High in the first round.
Abner said his team is ready to make a strong postseason run.
"We’re solidifying our line-up," he said. "We know we have to put our foot forward. It’s the beginning of the [postseason]."
The coach said he wants his team to be relaxed but ready to go after things in the playoffs. It’s going to take an outstanding effort to go deep into the Dulles tournament.
"We want to try to keep them as relaxed as possible so they can perform well," said Abner.