Batting Practice and Bagels

Batting Practice and Bagels

Centreville softball team’s extra work pays off with first district title since 2007.

Centreville softball coach Rich Ferrick heard it from his players. It likely didn’t subside after he joined his team for breakfast at Manhattan Bagel. And the good-natured ribbing was expected by Ferrick, who has been dealing with situations such as these for 13 years now.

His team had played an 11-inning marathon Friday that didn’t start until 8:40 p.m. because of a semifinal contest before it, and the Wildcats’ game itself -- a 4-3 win over Robinson -- lasted 2 hours, 40 minutes. All told, Centreville’s players didn’t walk off the field until 11:17 p.m., according to the team’s records.

Still, Ferrick didn’t budge. Practice, though it wouldn’t involve much hitting or fielding, was still happening on Saturday -- no matter how creative the protests became. Centreville had Monday’s Concorde District title game against Fairfax to prepare for.

“It was a time we needed to come in,” Ferrick said. “Plus we were playing on Monday, so we needed to swing the bat a little bit more. We won on Friday, but we weren’t an offensive machine by any stretch.”

At least the weekend work paid off.

Centreville scored four runs during the first inning against the Rebels and hung on to win, 5-1, capturing its first district title since 2007. The Wildcats (16-5) now advance to the Northern Region tournament and will host Madison on Friday.

Those 18 innings on Friday and Monday had very little effect on Centreville pitcher Jess Ferrick, who threw a total of 245 pitches, 178 strikes and allowed three runs on 10 hits. She also totaled 31 strikeouts and only walked three batters.

Five different players posted hits against Robinson, with shortstop Lexi Murdock finishing with two hits, an RBI and a walk. Facing Fairfax, six of the first seven batters in the Centreville lineup had hits, with catcher Victoria Marvin and third baseman Kirsten Sepulveda recording two apiece.

“We look up and down the line, and during any game we’ll have five or six people get hits,” Ferrick said. “I think we’re in a good groove right now.”