Strum tosses no-hitter in season opener


Byrd catcher Ellison Spangler protects the plate and tags out a Cave Spring runner Saturday. PHOTO BY BILLY POWELL

A promising William Byrd softball season got off to a great start as the girls won their first three games, including an opening day no-hitter by Terrier ace Mara Strum.

Byrd opened the season on Friday at home and Strum was in mid-season form. She struck out 11 and walked just three while holding the Spartans hitless.

Meanwhile, the Terriers had 15 hits against Salem ace Hailee Gordon, a George Mason bound senior.

“That was a very impressive start against a D-1 pitcher,” said Byrd coach Greg Barton.  “She’s good with a good rise ball. Our kids just lit her up for 15 hits. And Mara showed the valley there’s another D-1 pitcher in town.”

Megan Grant led off the third inning with a hit and Alexis West moved her to third with a single, then stole second. Strum doubled in both and pinch runner Katie Fuchs scored on a hit by Ellison Spangler.

Byrd plated four more runs in the fourth and three more in the ffth to get to 10, ending the game early by the 10-run rule.

“We only struck out one time and dominated the game,” said Barton. “It’s always nice to get that first one in the books and we did it in dominating fashion.”

West, Strum, Spangler and Jada Karnes all had three hits and Grant was two-for-four.

On Saturday the girls made up a game with Cave Spring that had been postponed early in the week by cold weather. On a much nicer day the Terriers edged the Knights, 3-2, in Vinton.

“I knew this was going to be a much tougher game,” said Barton. “Cave Spring has an ace in Abbie Weaver and is much more athletic than Salem. I was wondering how we would do with a more equal team. We did what we needed in a very close ballgame. My girls showed some real grit in this one.”

Cave Spring opened the scoring after an error and a couple hits. Byrd came back in the fourth when Sydney Burton singled, stole second and Strum bunt ed her to third. Karnes then hit a sacrifice fly to score Burton and tie the game. West then doubled and was followed by a bomb over the center field fence by Spangler.

“This home run was in my top three in my 17 years in the program,” said Barton. “The ball got out before their defense could even turn around. Just amazing power. This put us up 3-1 and I just told Mara to go to work.”

Cave Spring scored a run in the fifth but Strum was able to close out the win.

On Tuesday the two teams played again at Cave Spring, and this one was all Byrd. For the second time in three games the Terriers won by slaughter rule, this time 11-1 as the game was stopped in the sixth inning.

“We just pounded the ball and they just couldn’t handle Mara,” said Barton.  “She had five k’s and only walked one and our defense played awesome and we ended up with 13 hits off their ace.”

Big hitters were Spangler with two hits and another big home run bomb while Cassie Powell had her first home run of the year. Ryan Stanley was two-for-four, Hannah Sowers was two-for-three and Grant was two-for-four.

The Terriers are back in action today as they return the trip to Salem at the Moyer Complex. On Friday the girls host Hidden Valley at 5 pm in Vinton.

“This team is fun to coach and even more fun to watch,” said Barton. “Is this the best team I’ve had here ? Very possible.”