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Lady Cavaliers finish second in state once again

For the second year in a row, the Holston Lady Cavalier Softball Team played for a state championship and for the second-straight year suffered a very similar feeling.
The Lady Cavs left the New River Valley brokenhearted once again as Holston lost to Bath County 3-0 in the VHSL Group A Division I state championship game at Virginia Tech.
The loss was only the second of the season for the 25-2 Lady Cavaliers and this group of mainly juniors will have one more shot at the title next year.
One young lady who ended her career on Saturday was lone senior Faith Ritchie and she wanted this so bad and wants her teammates to win it all next year.
“There were a lot of tears,” Ritchie said. “I was sad because it was my last game and the whole team was sad. We've come so close two years in a row and that makes it so hard. I hope they can make it this far next year. That's what I want for them.
Just eight days earlier, Holston defeated Bath County for the Region “C” Championship, but the rematch went in favor of Bath County.
Holston was done in early by three first inning errors that led to two Bath County runs. From there Bath County pitcher Jailyn Ford took over and the James Madison commitment only allowed two hits all day.
Ford is a dominating left hander that has now caused problems for Holston for two years.
The Lady Cavs would have had a better chance without the miscues in the field, but Ford was extremely dominant.
“The errors didn't help us,” Ritchie said. “It was hard to come back. We were down a little bit and we knew we had to pull out of it.”
Ritchie admitted it was very difficult to hit the left-handed Ford as freshman Amelia Wampler had the only two hits.
“It was very difficult to hit off her,” Ritchie said. “She's a top-notch pitcher and she's left handed so we're not used to that. Her rise ball is hard to get a hold of. She's an all-around tough pitcher.”
This trip to the state's ultimate game ends a truly great season for Holston.
The group is very close-knit and they don't care what grade the girls are in, they just love to be around each other.
“We don't really keep track of classes,” Ritchie said. “Amelia Wampler is a freshman and we totally forgot about that. Devynne Stiltner, MacKenzie Richardson and Lauren Fritz are sophomores and they're just like anyone else and they like to play. I feel like I'm leaving my family. I'm going to be hollering from the stands next year like I would be from the dugout. I'm going to miss them all.”
The Cavaliers earned their trip to the championship with a 4-3 victory over William Campbell in eight innings on Friday.
Last Tuesday, the Lady Cavaliers were able to host a first round state tournament game and they took advantage with a 19-0 win over Haysi.
Every Holston player had at least one hit, but the day belonged to Brianna Thomas, who finished the night 4-for-5 and was a home run away from hitting for the cycle.
“I haven't been hitting that well until today,” Thomas said. “Coach Bebber helped me yesterday. It was a great experience to play with this team and we played as a team.”
Being able to host a state tournament game is something the athletes in Tennessee are not able to do, so nights like Tuesday makes it very special for Holston.
It is very special for a group of very close-knit girls who truly love to be around each other.
“We're like sisters on this team,” Thomas said. “We've been playing together forever. We're pretty good playing with each other.”
A young lady who has received a lot of attention over the last couple of years is Morgan Lowe and on Tuesday she recorded a perfect game.
One of the top pitchers in the whole Northeast Tennessee/Southwest Virginia Region, Lowe was dominant once again as she kept Haysi off-balance and finished the night with 11 strikeouts in seven innings of work.
The night will be one that Lowe will never forget.
“It's pretty exciting,” Lowe said. “This is something Holston has never experienced before and I think everybody was excited to be playing on our home field. We had a good turnout and a lot of people showed up for the game.”
The town of Damascus came out in full force to support the girls and most of the crowd even stuck around through a thunderstorm that delayed the game for over an hour.
“I saw a lot of people I don't know and it's good to see people supporting us,” Lowe said. “People from other counties came to watch us.”