On April 6, the RCHS softball team opened their Bull Run District play with a power-hitting, base-stealing, fire-pitching exposition. George Mason’s Mustangs succumbed to the Lady Panthers 16-6.
Senior Natalie Tupper picked up her fourth win of the season with nine strikeouts and the solid play of the Rapp defense behind her. Coach Jamie Harris made note of the ladies’ offensive play, too. “It was the hitting and base running that set the tone. The Fab Five combined for 14 hits and 14 runs.”
Each of the Fab had plenty to boast about in the post-game stats: Brittani Dodson, a single, double, and three runs; Natalie Tupper, a single, double, triple and three runs; Lauren Settle, a single, double, triple and three runs; Allie Dore, a double, three singles and three runs; and Hanna Kopjanski had a single and a home run. Rapp sealed the victory the third inning when Skyler Owens, in her first varsity start, laced a two-out RBI triple down the first-base line.
One of the Fab Five, Hanna Kopjanski, replayed her adrenaline-inducing home run. “In the bottom of the fifth, I was up to bat and hit a line drive down the third baseline. Nobody touched it! I felt like I was running in slow motion. Going around the bases, everything was moving so slowly, then I looked up and hauled it. I slid into home base and was safe. Coach said it was because I’m always eating cheese fries.”
Kopjanski’s Fab Five teammate, Lauren Settle, described her triple. “Coach gave us the hit and run sign. Nat was supposed to be stealing, but my hit went pretty far into right field for a stand-up triple. I honestly didn’t think my it was going to be that successful. It was such an exciting game. Now, we’ve started the district season with a victory and we’re out for blood!”
Overall, the Panther offense now claims 44 runs in the last three games. “That is good,” boasted Coach Harris, “but we still have to get better at our strategies of bunting and hit and runs. We are still young and still meshing, but the wheels are starting to click and that will make for a great season.”
Madison 17, Rapp 0
Madison’s Mountaineers snapped the Lady Panthers’ three-game winning streak as they rolled by Rapp 17-0 in six innings Tuesday night. “Rapp committed a season high 13 errors,” Harris reported, “which led to 14 unearned Mountaineer runs.”
Panthers attempted to put up an offensive fight. Peyton Bailey picked up her first career varsity hit with a double, and Allie Dore had a single. Lyndie Paul and Natalie Tupper, along with Bailey and Dore, each had a walk as Mountaineer ace Jordan Aylor shut down the Rapp lineup.
“We definitely were not ready to play today,” Harris said. “We made so many mistakes which is uncharacteristic of us. We just got to keep our heads up and keep on playing. The only way to get better and learn from our mistakes is to roll up our sleeves and fix it with some good hard work and sweat.”
The Lady Panthers traveled to East Hardy, W.V., on Wednesday night and will face the Strasburg Rams at home on tomorrow.