Exactly 100 pitches served to support the argument that Jess Ferrick’s right arm gives her Centreville softball team a decided advantage over its opponents. The Wildcats’ top pitcher, Ferrick threw 76 of those pitches for strikes against Annandale during Monday afternoon’s Northern Region quarterfinal contest, allowing only two hits and striking out 16.
But after seven-plus scoreless innings at Falls Church High School, Ferrick’s work at the plate upstaged her pitching performance. She smacked a game-winning double into left-center field in the bottom of the eighth inning, scoring Victoria Marvin and inking a 1-0 win over the Atoms.
“I like it when it happens like that,” said Ferrick, who along with Marvin will suit up for Marshall next spring. “We sometimes wait until late in the game to get started, so I knew that it was just a matter of time before we would get it done.”
Marvin beat out an infield single to the right of Annandale shortstop Jessica Hotter to lead off the eighth inning, capping a seven-pitch at-bat. After Centreville’s Kirsten Sepulveda struck out, No. 3 hitter Cara Donovan reached base on an error.
With one out, Ferrick stepped to the plate and hit the first pitch she saw — an outside fastball — from Annandale pitcher Izzy Yaroch into left-center and reached second base as Marvin crossed home plate. Rich Ferrick, coaching third base, pumped his right fist and Centreville began to celebrate its trip to the Northern Region semifinals on Wednesday, when the Wildcats will face Robinson at 5 p.m.
Throwing first-pitch strikes on 20 of a possible 26 occasions, Jess Ferrick was rarely tested. Through the first three innings, she had faced 10 batters and struck out eight of them. She allowed one hit and got Annandale’s Glenda Ngo to line out to third to end the third frame.
Despite the fact that Jess Ferrick continued to shut down the Atoms until the eighth inning by retiring 18 straight at one point, Centreville struggled to adjust to Yaroch’s drop ball. According to Rich Ferrick, it was a pitch that has sort of fallen by the wayside, something so rare that Centreville was forced to hold a special practice on Saturday to work on hitting it.
“We worked on it but you couldn’t tell,” Ferrick said. “The weird thing is, that always used to be the signature pitch. You’ll see it here and there, but you just don’t see it like you used to.”
After allowing a leadoff single in the top of the eighth and converting the subsequent sacrifice bunt into an out, Ferrick recorded her final strikeout of the afternoon and second baseman Courtney Burke threw to first for the final out. With Marvin reaching base in the top half of the frame, Rich Ferrick had a pretty good feeling about his team’s chances.
“Anytime I can get Victoria on base, I think this is going to be the inning,” the coach said. “When we get her on base, we like to think she’s a run for us.”