McLean varsity softball suffers upset loss to Langley

Highlanders fall short to Saxons despite earlier 22-5 win


Aaron Stark

Junior Ella Templer hits a line drive that was caught by the Langley shortstop. Templer recently switched from playing outfield to shortstop.

Following a crushing win on Langley 22-5, McLean’s Highlanders lost on April 24th as their opponents exacted revenge. Despite their perseverance through the last inning, Langley claimed victory 2-1 at this home game.

The Highlanders, led by head Coach Maurice Towell, started sophomore pitcher Hailey Simpson on the mound. Simpson had an amazing start, striking out the first three batters.

In the bottom of the first inning, senior outfielder Gabriella Colder smacked a promising double that nearly hit the fence, but a line drive out from Langley’s third baseman ended the inning.

The second and third innings were largely dull in comparison. In the third, McLean’s junior first baseman Emory Hadden singled, making it to second after a sacrifice bunt. However, the inning ended without any runs after freshman catcher Genevive Fagan and junior shortstop Ella Templer both flied out.

The trouble only continued to come for the Highlanders in the fourth inning. Langley started the inning with a deep fly ball to left field, to which Fagan made an impressive over the shoulder catch. Immediately after, Langley third baseman Charlotte Loving hit a blooper right between the shortstop and second baseman for a single. Afterwards, the Langley first baseman jumped on a bad pitch, sending a deep home run over the left field fence and putting Langley up 0-2.

The Highlanders took a short break from the damage after an amazing diving catch by sophomore center fielder Maddie Staats. However, the break was short-lived as Staats rolled over her wrist making the catch to which the umpire called a time-out.

Minutes later, senior captain and second baseman Taylor Staats botched an easy throw to first from a ground ball, allowing the runner to get to second on the error. To make things worse, Langley’s second baseman hit a double to center field, putting runners on 2nd and 3rd. Luckily, Simpson struck out the last batter and was able to get out of the inning without further damage.

Although the fifth inning hinted at promise, the Highlanders were ultimately unsuccessful. The inning started out rough with a ground out from junior catcher Chelsea Engle with Hadden singling soon after. Mere seconds later, Templer hit a pop up behind the catcher, but the Langley catcher pressed up against the fence for the catch. Finally, Fagan hit a deep fly ball that bounced off the left field fence, but Hadden was thrown out at home plate for the third out.

As the seventh inning began, it looked as if the Highlanders were going to make a comeback, similar to their recent game against Marshall in which they came back to win 3-2 in the last inning.

The inning started out unsuccessful after Maddie Staats grounded out to third base. However, Engle walked after an intense, high-pitch battle with several foul-balls in a row. The Highlanders then replaced Engle with junior pinch runner Kaitlyn Cole. Soon after, Hadden had stepped up to the plate and belted a bad pitch to the fence, allowing Cole to score, leveling the game to 1-2. However, in a lapse of judgment by McLean’s third base coach, Hadden was sent to third and easily thrown out.

Finally, to end the game, junior outfielder Abigail Hart hit a line-drive to second base that was easily caught.

Compared to other games, McLean’s battle against Langley was largely uneventful, being the lowest scoring game McLean had played this season with both teams scoring a combined 3 runs. This heavily contrasted with McLean’s earlier games, which had much higher scores

Additionally, the game was a huge upset victory for Langley. Returning from a 22-5 win, the Highlanders were highly favored for this game. However, members of the team believe nothing significant has changed, and that the game was simply a fluke.

“Hitting is contagious. In our first game against Langley, we quickly adjusted to the pitching and everyone started hitting, including 4 home runs,” Templer said. “This time, when we made solid contact, we often hit it right at a fielder. We had an off night and couldn’t string consecutive hits together, [but] we will be ready for them at districts.”