RC Earns Comeback Win Over Northside In Softball Opener, 5-4

Jonathan Schwab

Monday, March 20 – In a suspenseful season opener, the Rockbridge County High School softball team erased a 3-0 deficit to defeat Blue Ridge District rival Northside 5-4 in eight innings on Monday in Lexington.

Madison Ruley scored the winning run for RC in the bottom of the eighth, as she sprinted home on a groundout hit by Paige Clark.

The Wildcats’ opener was originally scheduled for Tuesday of last week, at home against Fort Defiance, but that game was postponed until April 20 due to wintry weather.

Northside (0-3), which had lost two close contests to start the season, was trying to avenge its loss to in the Conference 31 semifinals last year, when RC went on to win the conference tournament.

The evening looked promising for the Vikings early on, as Kayla Gibson belted a home run in the second and Madison Via scored in the third to put the visitors up 2-0. Via, a Liberty University signee, homered in the third to give Northside a 3-0 lead.

RC’s offense came alive in the fifth, as Lyla Chittum doubled to left field and Clark brought her home with a double to right field. After RC loaded the bases, Kayleigh Addington singled to left field to drive in Clark, and Madison McKemy ran home on a groundout by Cari Floyd to tie the game at 3-3.

The Wildcats took a 4-3 lead in the sixth when Ruley scored after Northside’s shortstop bobbled a ball hit by Brie Sensabaugh. But Northside tied the game in the seventh when Via scored on a sacrifice fly.

Neither team recorded another hit until Ruley and Chittum singled in the eighth, leading to the game-winning play.

McKemy pitched a complete game for RC, striking out four and allowing eight hits and three walks. The Wildcats amassed 12 hits against two Northside pitchers, Bailey Grubb and Sarah Hayes.

The Wildcats will travel to Fort Defiance for a nondistrict game on Tuesday before playing at Parry McCluer on Thursday. Both games are set for 5 p.m.

For the full stories and photos from this week’s games, please see our March 29 newspaper.



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