The decade of the 2010's, when it comes to softball, has belonged to Hanover County.
No other jurisdiction can claim to have had a team in every state tournament each year save one, and, for the past three years running, two teams in the final four standing.
In 2015 and 2016, the county rivals (Atlee/Patrick Henry and Atlee/Lee-Davis) found themselves locked in the same side of the bracket, playing in the 5A State Semifinals. This season, both Atlee and Lee-Davis won their respective regions, placing them on opposite sides of the bracket. If each could win the semifinal June 9th, the teams would meet for a third and final time with everything on the line.
Atlee dispensed Nansemond River while Lee-Davis blasted Stone Bridge, setting up the dream matchup for the sport's biggest prize. Little did we know while gathering at Westfield High School near Dulles Airport that the final game would bare striking similarities to their latest meeting April 28th.
Peyton St. George hit an early solo home run, in her first at-bat, that Friday night, survived a seventh inning rally, and led Atlee to a 1-0 win over the Confederates. Fast forward to the title game.
Peyton St. George hit a solo home run in her second at-bat in the top of the fourth, then survived a crisis in the sixth inning where Lee-Davis had a huge opportunity to seize the lead with just three outs left for the Raiders.
The final score? Atlee 1, Lee-Davis 0. Lee-Davis finished with four losses on the season, three to Atlee, who only lost once, to eventual 3A champion Warhill, 1-0 ironically, in nine innings.
Hanover County and the RVA were the winners as the best softball teams earned their way to center stage, and, in the end, Atlee became only the fourth team in VHSL history to win three straight state softball crowns.
CLICK HERE to listen to the archive RVA Sports Network broadcast of the state final.
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