VHSL Spring Jubilee wraps up with area teams winning state gold

Liberty and William Byrd softball teams win their first ever state title

By Eric Johnson - Sports Anchor / Reporter, John "Appy" Appicello - Sports Director

SALEM, Va. - The William Byrd softball team has been knocking on the door of a state championship for the past few years and on Friday, they had a favorable answer. 

The Terriers trailed Woodgrove in the bottom of the sixth inning when Erin Courtmanche drove in Sydeny Burton to tie the game at 2. 

Jada Karnes did her part in the seventh inning by getting on base with a double. That setup Burton, who hit a ball deep to left field and drove in Megan Grant, the winning run. William Byrd won its first ever softball state championship, 3-2.

"We're a small community. We never got this," said William Byrd head coach Greg Barton.

"It means everything, means everything to me, everything for them kids. That's what it's all about. That's why we come out every day and do this," Barton said. 

"We always like to keep it close but we always find a way to get the job done," said Burton, who plays outfield for the Terriers.

"We've been in many situations like this and it was just another one today. The last at bat I don't even think I could feel my heart pump and I was so nervous, but not only am I but I think everyone on this team, wanted this more than anything and we were going to find a way to get the job done," Burton said. 

The Liberty softball team also found a way to win its first ever-state championship as they took down Turner Ashby 4-1. The Minutemen found themselves trailing until the fourth inning when Paige Naples hit a liner to left field for an RBI single. That tied the score at 1 apiece. 

In the bottom of the fifth, Kacey Worley came through with a big RBI single, and a fielding error on the play led to two runners scoring. Liberty took a 3-1 lead before adding another run in the sixth. 

Ace pitcher Millie Thompson closed this one out for Liberty and they went on to celebrate a Class 3 championship win. 

"It's huge for our community, it's huge for our school, it's huge for these kids and our heart and their families," said Liberty head coach Mike Thompson.

"You know, we have a couple players that kind of travel way way out to play travel ball and some that don't so, this was this was their big moment and I'm so proud of them," Thompson said. 

"It means the world to me," said Millie Thompson.

"I've been waiting for this moment my whole childhood, my whole life. You know, I've worked so hard for this ending and it just actually happened. It's just amazing," Thompson said. 

In the Class 2 baseball championship, Chatham defeated Lebanon 23-5. The Cavaliers won their third state title overall, their first since 2009. 

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