Madison softball rally started early, ends late in a Class 6 state title

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Before Saturday’s Virginia Class 6 state title game against Cosby, Madison Coach Jim Adkins had a simple message for his team.

“There’s no pressure,” Adkins said. before the Warhawks’ 7-6 comeback win over Cosby at John Champe High in Aldie. “We’re not even supposed to be here.”

Madison’s comeback Saturday culminated a rally that really began shortly before the season opened, when the Warhawks learned 2021 Conference Player of the Year Katelynn Park, the team’s ace, had torn her ACL and would miss the season.

“When that happened, the team really had to make a decision. ‘Hey the season’s over before it even starts or we got to all pull together,’ ” Adkins said. “That’s kind of been the rallying cry all year long.”

On Saturday, the Warhawks (16-1) needed one last rally to hold off the defending champions. Down 5-3 entering the seventh, Madison scored four times to take command, then held off a rally from the Titans (18-7) in the bottom of the inning to secure its third state title in five years.

Before the Warhawks came to bat in the seventh, Adkins huddled his team outside of the dugout.

“This is a game,” Adkins told his players. “Go play it.”

The rally got a boost from Graciela Dominguez, who doubled to trim the Titans’ lead to 5-4. Rachel Schlueter singled to bring Dominguez home, knotting the game at 5.

That brought up district player of the year Katrina Swan with just one out.

Swan took a pitch, then laced a deep drive that landed beyond the fence in left. Swan burst into tears rounding third base as her team swarmed her at the plate in celebration.

“I was just so happy, I couldn’t believe it, it was one of those movie moments,” Swan said.

The Warhawks held on from there, mobbing the field as Cosby’s late rally fell short.

“Our goal was a regional championship and coming into the season it was going to be states but then when [Park] tore her ACL we were like ‘let’s just go for regionals,’” Swan said. “And then just making it here, it’s unbelievable, I’m so happy to be here with these people too.”

The win marked the eight state title for Madison.

“I thought if we were .500 we would be lucky,” Adkins said. “But after working with the girls and after watching them and just seeing how they rallied around each other … that really is why it’s so special.”

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