- Special Sections
- Public Notices
After a nondescript start, Galax finished strong in its Mountain Empire District quarterfinal win over Graham. Kinda like the Maroon Tide’s season in general.
Having started the season by dropping 10 of its first 13 games, and having seen its first six batters retired in order on Monday, Galax won for the fifth time in its last seven outings by coming on strong in the third and fourth innings, blowing past Graham 10-0 in a five-inning game at Mountain View Park.
Galax’s strong finish to the season – and its good start to the district tournament – has seen the Maroon Tide (8-12) work its way from well outside the top six in the Region C Division 1 standings to right on the bubble as far as earning a region tournament bid, which would be quite the accomplishment for a team that was 1-9 at one point this season.
“I think we’ve definitely peaked at the right time,” Galax coach Beth Walker said. “We’re getting there. I think it has a lot to do with our confidence, slowing the game down, just playing one pitch at a time. We’ve been doing a lot better with that.”
The late upswing also left the Maroon Tide as the No. 3 seed in the tournament, avoiding a semifinal meeting with Grayson County that a 4-seed would have brought.
“It’s a big tournament for us,” Walker said. “These last two weeks have been huge for us, for points. It’s going to be close.”
Galax wasn’t close to getting on base for two innings as six straight Maroon Tide batters made a U-turn to the dugout. Haley Reynolds and Lauren Garvey brought an end to that by leading off the bottom of the third with back-to-back singles off Graham starter Sarah Moxley. Following a fielder’s choice out, Taylor Cummings’ grounder resulted in a two-run error to break a scoreless tie. The play gave Galax all the offense it would need, but Holly Cassell followed with a double to left-center, knocking in Cummings for a 3-0 lead after three innings.
The Maroon Tide sent 11 batters to the plate in the fourth to stretch its lead to double figures. A walk and a ground-rule double off the bat of Reynolds put runners at second and third, and courtesy runner Lexi Brown loped home on a pitch to the screen before Reynolds scored on a dropped fly ball in left, one of four Graham errors.
“We were pulling our head in the beginning because we wanted to jump on them early,” Walker said. “We calmed down and got [Moxley’s] speed down, kept our heads in and that’s when we started seeing the ball. Haley Reynolds was our spark plug today. She got us going leading off the third inning.”
Taylor Ashworth followed with a two-run single up the middle, later scoring on an errant throw on a ground ball.
Another error put runners on first and second for Brooklyn Key, who drilled a two-run double to deep center for the 10-0 lead.
Cassell retired the G-Girls in order in the top of the fifth to finish the affair in a tidy hour and seven minutes. Cassell allowed just two baserunners all afternoon, on singles in the second and fourth innings. She struck out five and walked none.
Reynolds had two of Galax’s six hits while Cummings drove in three runs.
Grayson County 17, Galax 0: One of Galax’s two setbacks in its past seven games was one that the entire district has experienced, as Grayson County wrapped up a dominating run through the MED with the five-inning win Saturday at Mountain View Park.
In a scoreless tie entering the third inning, the Blue Devils (10-0 MED) scored all 17 of their runs in the final three innings, starting with an eight-run third.
Claire Circle and Sarah Eller got the ball rolling in the top of the third with back-to-back two-run singles.
Eller added a two-run home run in the fourth, and the Blue Devils tacked on seven runs in the fifth. Grace Circle and Mary Meier both had a two-run double and Claire Circle also had an RBI double in the fifth.
Claire Circle finished the day with four hits and three RBIs while Eller contributed three hits and four RBIs.
Eller also got the win in the pitching circle, allowing two singles and two walks in five innings. She struck out 12.