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Langley Receives Confidence Boost in Season-Opening Softball Win.

Freshmen pitcher Templin keeps Robinson in check in Saxons’ shutout victory.

The Langley High girls’ softball team opened up the new season with a crisp 3-0 non-district win at Robinson Secondary last Thursday, March 17. The Saxons, coming off a 7-15 record in 2010, received an impressive outing from freshmen pitcher Emily Templin, who in her first career high school game pitched and hit her team to victory.

Templin, on the pitching mound, allowed five hits and walked two while striking out four in gaining the shutout win. Meanwhile, at the plate, she smacked a pair of doubles, including an RBI two-bagger, in three at-bats to pace Langley’s seven-hit attack.

Jessica Roche, the Langley head coach, said the ninth grader showed none of the nervousness that often accompanies a freshmen ball player competing in her first varsity game.

“It doesn’t bother her at all,” said Roche, of Templin’s first game mindset in the season opener. “She’s been pitching all her life.”

Templin benefitted from a solid defense behind her in the win over the Rams, perennially one of the better teams in the Northern Region.

“It was a real exciting win,” said Roche. “Knowing that Robinson traditionally has one of the better teams in the region gives us confidence.

“Our pitcher did an excellent job where the batters hit playable balls,” said the coach. “Our defense was solid with just one error. Definitely, our infield looked excellent. Our outfield did not have a lot of action.”

Templin used an assortment of pitches versus the opposing Robinson batters. Most importantly, she hit her spots and made the Rams hit her pitch.

“She did what she had to do,” said Roche, of Templin’s ability to do her part in keeping the host Rams off of the scoreboard.

Langley’s Courtney Conklin, a senior first baseman, contributed an RBI single to the Saxons’ victory.

<b>ONE OF THE ASPECTS</b> Roche loves early on about her team is its good chemistry and team-first mindset. The Saxons have nine returning players on their 11-member roster, along with two freshmen. One of the team’s top returning players is senior shortstop Mandy Moll, an Honorable Mention All-Liberty District selection last year. Both Moll and Conklin serve as team co-captains this season.

The Saxons have a good early season team blend which hopefully will result in a cohesive unit that wins a bunch of games this spring.

“My girls get along so well,” said Roche. “Being a team on the field for them is natural. They didn’t show hesitation or nervousness [in the opener]. They just went out and had fun. Looking at them after the game and seeing their enthusiasm [at having won], I think they had forgotten what it felt like to get a big win.”

Langley plays in a super competitive Liberty District consisting of such outstanding teams as Madison, the defending district and Northern Region champion, and McLean, the defending state AAA champion. Other quality teams in the district will likely include Marshall, Fairfax, and Stone Bridge. The Saxons will be looking to improve on last year’s four district wins.

Over spring break week next month, Langley will travel to Myrtle Beach, S.C. from April 18-22. There, the Saxons will compete in the Grand Strand Softball Tournament.