RICHLANDS, Va. — In sports familiarity often breeds respect and that is the case with this year’s Class 2 softball final four.
Page County, Richlands, Lebanon and Madison County the final rankings and a few lineup spots may have changed over the last decade but those four teams and state playoffs are almost synonymous.
Those four teams will be at Radford University on Thursday for the 2A state semifinals with the 22-5 Panthers and Richlands 21-5 in a rematch of last year’s state finals.
This will be third straight trip for the Blue Tornado and the 11th in the history of the program they hope the third time is a charm. Page County’s Sabrina Foltz and Mac Osborne dueled for seven innings in last year’s finals with the Panthers winning 3-0.
The two will hook up again this year with Osborne holding a 20-3 record and Foltz the Region 2B player of the year coming off back to back shutouts. Foltz was joined on the all Region 2B first team by third baseman Maddie Gordon and outfielder Brooklyn Fridley, like Foltz an all state selection last year.
Last year’s victory gave Page County its third state title in five years. It was the second straight year the Blue Tornado lost in the finals. Madison County defeated Richlands 4-0 in the 2017 title game after the Blue Tornado had defeated Lebanon in the semifinals.
The Mountaineers, 22-3 beat Amelia County 10-0 to advance to the state semifinals after losing to Page County 5-0 in their regional championship game. Madison lost in the state quarterfinals last year. Lebanon is making the trip to the semifinals for the fourth straight year.
After winning it all in 2016 the Pioneers lost in the semis in 2017 an 18. The Pioneers 19-7 for the season have recorded four straight shutouts heading to the semifinals.
The Pioneers and Madison County will have to wake up early as they have a 9 a.m. start. Richlands and Page County face off at noon. The championship game will be Friday at 9 a.m.