by John Rodock – Special to the News-Press
Logyn Estes went 2-for-3 with 2 RBIs and 2 runs scored, and pitched 3 innings of hit-less relief to lead the home team Madison County (6-3, 3-0) past George Mason last Friday, 7-1. The Mountaineer bats banged out 12 hits, including 5 doubles, two by catcher Sam Breeden, who also scored twice.
The Mustangs (3-3, 0-3) opened the first inning on a hopeful note when Julia Ferris ripped a two-out double off the left field fence, missing a home run by a few inches, but she was stranded at second. Madison County scratched out a run in the second on Breeden’s double, a sacrifice bunt and a passed ball. In the bottom of the third Mason stymied a Madison rally when center fielder Sabrina Rodock threw out a runner attempting to score from second on a single.
In the top of the 4th it was Ferris again, the team’s leading hitter (.579 BA, .619 OB, 1.724 OPS), this time blasting a drive to straightaway center that did clear the fence for her first homer of the season to tie the game at 1-1. With two outs Chelsea Lang singled and Katie Mills reached on an error, but Madison escaped further harm. The Mountaineers picked up 3 runs in the bottom half of the inning, with Estes’s 2-run double the big blow. Mason threatened in the fifth when Rodock walked, stole second, and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Shortstop Tea Abbraciamento (.467, .529, 1.263) then walked, bringing up Ferris as the potential tying run. But the Mountaineers had seen enough damage from her and walked her intentionally, and the Mustangs failed to score.
Madison added a run in the fifth and two in the sixth. Mason right fielder Anna Connole snagged a line drive and doubled off a runner at second to close out the sixth. But Estes retired the last seven Mustang hitters to pick up the save for winning pitcher Megan Shifflett.
Central Woodstock’s Rebekah Ansbro tossed a 5-hit shutout, striking out 14 and walking none to out-duel Mason’s Julia Ferris, 4-0. Ferris struck out nine, walked only one, and gave up just two earned runs but got no run support.
George Mason is in the toughest part of its district schedule, having played two games in a row against teams that have yet to lose a district game. But they hung in stubbornly at home in front of a shivering throng of supporters, and the game was in doubt until the last inning thanks to several excellent infield defensive plays by 3B Katie Mills, SS Tea Abbracciamento and 1B Mary Grace Lizotte.
The Falcons (9-1, 3-1) picked up a run in the second without benefit of a hit when Shennan Waldron led off by striking out swinging at a beautiful change-up in the dirt, but reached first safely when the ball squirted past catcher Chelsea Lang. Mills (.333 season average) doubled to right center in the bottom half but was stranded. Mason again threatened to tie the game in the third when Abbracciamento (.444) hit a booming triple over the right fielder’s head, but she too was stranded.
Central added an unearned run in the fourth on an RBI single by Dana Painter. Mason’s Chelsea Lang singled sharply in the bottom half and courtesy runner Jodi Cheung stole second, but again Ansbro escaped the inning unscathed. Falcon SS Shennan Waldron tripled off the center field fence to open the sixth and scored on a bunt single. The Falcons picked up another unearned run in the seventh to close out the scoring.
Ferris (.591) had a pair of singles for the other Mason hits. After dominating larger Northern Virginia public schools early on this season, Mason is still looking for its first win in its very tough league. The Mustangs (4-3, 0-4) travel to Rappahannock County (0-9, 0-4) on Friday, April 15, then return home on Monday, April 18 to take on Seton in a non-district game.