Girls will play Carroll for C-24 title tonight

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Ryan Stanley fires across the diamond for an out.
PHOTO BY BILLY POWELL
Mara Strum has a welcoming party at the plate after her grand slam home run ended Monday’s win
over Salem and clinched a regional berth for the Byrd softball team. PHOTO BY BILLY POWELL

The William Byrd softball team is hoping for some nice weather when they travel to Carroll County tonight to play in the Region 4A West softball final. The game was originally scheduled for Wednesday, but moved to Thursday due to a wet field in Hillsville.

If the Terriers can win tonight they’ll open the Region 4A West tournament with a home game. If Byrd loses the Terriers will still be in the regional, but they will likely have to open on the road.

Byrd earned a regional berth with an 11-0 win over Salem in Vinton on Monday night. The Byrd girls broke open a close game with a big inning, then sent the Spartans home by “slaughter rule” on Mara Strum’s walk-off grand slam home run.

The girls led just 1-0 into the bottom of the fourth, but then coach Greg Barton decided to become more aggressive.

“I decided in the fourth inning to start playing our short game and put some pressure on their defense,” said Barton. “Our timing was a little off against (Salem pitcher) Haellie Gordon and we just needed some base runners. We have great speed and they had real trouble fielding our bunts. After taking a 4-0 lead we starting swinging away and really pounded the ball.”

Byrd scored seven more runs in the fifth to win going away. The Terriers recorded 13 hits in the game and finished it off with the Strum Grand Slam.

“Mara steps up in big games,” said Barton. “ Not only did she pitch a one-hitter but she also hit one of the biggest home runs I’ve seen in a long time. She is such a competitor.”

Megan Grant had three hits in the game and Ellasen Spangler and Jade Karnes had two each.

With the win the Terriers are 17-4 for the year.