The Lady Raiders are getting quite accustomed to hoisting trophies.
In fact, they are beginning to make it an annual habit.
The Dorchester Academy softball team used solid pitching and four one-run at-bats to take a 4-1 win at Wardlaw Academy on Wednesday night, capturing the second straight SCISA Class A state championship in program history.
Junior right-hander Hannah Reeves pitched all 7 innings for DA, collecting 6 strikeouts while only allowing 6 runs in picking up the win in the circle. In all, 72 of her 109 pitches were strikes.
"She (Reeves) did get it done pitching for us, even though she struggled with shoulder tightness one or two innings; but we got great defensive plays behind her to get this win," DA co-head coach Kim Reeves said about her daughter. "It was a complete team effort, like it has been all season long."
In the bottom of the third, with two outs and DA leading 2-0, there was an hour delay of the game due to lightning in the area. The break didn't change how the Lady Raiders were playing, as they returned and collected 2 more runs, along with the win.
The DA offense collected 9 hits in the contest and posted a run apiece in the first, second, fifth and sixth innings to build the winning total. Wardlaw managed just a single run in the sixth inning.
The Lady Raiders (21-5 record) swept the Lady Patriots 2 games to none in the best-of-three series. A year ago, it took a winner-take-all game three at a neutral site field for DA to top WA in the championship series.
On Wednesday, the top of the DA lineup got hits to reach base, while the middle of the lineup got hits to plate 2 runs and bottom of the lineup found ways to sacrifice runners over a base and plate 2 more runs.
"Tonight, we were top to bottom putting the ball in play, with key hits at the top of the lineup and some key sacrifice bunts at the bottom of the lineup to move runners," DA co-head coach Jack Reeves said. "They (WA) stranded runners with the bases loaded twice, including in the fifth with no outs.
"So we had good defensive plays at key times behind strong pitching."
For DA, Savanna Shelton in the lead-off slot went 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored, while No. 2 batter Savanna Varn went 3-for-4 with a double and a run scored. Reeves went 1-for-4 with a double, stolen base and an RBI, Grace Judy went 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI, and Elizabeth Huff went 1-for-2 with a double and a run scored. Batting in the No. 8 spot, Maura Weathers went 0-for-2 with an RBI, while batting in the No. 9 spot, Lydia Hofstetter went 0-for-3 with an RBI.
The only statistic where the Lady Patriots were better than the Lady Raiders on Wednesday was in the errors column, where DA had one miscue and WA had none. But, that didn't impact the winner of the game or the series.
"Our team motto this year was 'work hard and stay humble,'" Jack Reeves said. "This was a year where we started out as the target, played flawless through region (12-0) and state tournament (3-0) and the title series (2-0).
"As coaches, we just had to keep them mentally focused. With these girls, there wasn't as much physical preparation needed. They were ready to play and were ready to win."
For a program that had not won a fastpitch state title before 2017, DA now has consecutive titles, loses just two seniors from this team, and has a rising senior pitcher returning who has pitched in two championship-clinching games in her career.
The future is bright for the program in St. George.
"We just have to keep pushing, because we don't want the team to become complacent," Kim Reeves said. "But winning this series in two games, instead of taking it to three games like we did last season, that was huge."