Softball head coach Scott Driskill came to Matoaca in 1991, but didn’t start coaching softball until 2003. Simply put, the Matoaca softball program wasn’t where it is today. The Thomas Dales, Dinwiddies and Prince Georges of the world dominated the Central District. In fact, the first Matoaca team that Driskill piloted won just three games. That’s not the case anymore, as the Warriors defeated Prince George 1-0 to win the first ever Conference 12 Championship, making that back-to-back district/conference championships.
“We’ve gotten better defensively and offensively,” said Matoaca second baseman Taylor Clark. “We’ve come through in tight squeezes.”
Earlier in the year, Driskill announced that his 23rd year would be his last at Matoaca, just a year removed from the school’s first Central District championship – Driskill also coached football for 23 years and baseball for eight.
“It was very important to win in coach’s last year,” explained Jessica McCabe, the team’s ace pitcher. “This is the last group of seniors (McCabe, Maya Bailey, Clark) he’s been with all four years.”
The first-ever Conference 12 championship didn’t come without its challenges. Weather delayed the semi-finals on Wednesday and Thursday, pushing the game back to Friday, meaning Matoaca would have to play and win back-to-back games to take the crown. They defeated Clover Hill handily in the first game, 7-0.
McCabe started both games and turned in an outstanding performance, twirling two shutouts, striking out 25 batters in 14 innings pitched to bring her strikeout total in 2014 to 225. All 14 innings were thrown to sophomore catcher Brooke Flowers.
“At first it was a big adjustment [this year] because I’ve never caught anyone that throws that hard or with that much movement,” the catcher explained. “She made it easy because she doesn’t throw wild.”
The JMU bound senior hadn’t been feeling well earlier in the week and mixed up pitches in the second game, throwing more “junk” pitches to fool Royals batters.
The Warriors faced Atlee in the 5A South Regional Quarterfinals on Monday at Lee-Davis High School and fell in an extra inning heartbreaker 1-0.