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Unfinished: Richlands High School Softball

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Richlands, Va. (WVVA) - Head coach Ronnie Davis and the girls think about their 2019 state championship victory.

A lot.

"One of the biggest memories I have is the dog-pile at the end of the game," Davis recalled. "Just seeing the tears, the laughing the hugging."

"It felt great just to be able to experience something like that with all of my best friends," added senior Chloe Newberry. "To actually accomplish that and get to the top of the hill."

And it didn't take long for the group to start talking about going back-to-back.

"I mean, everybody I talked to said 'this is your year again, you're gonna get it,'" Newberry said.

They had all the pieces in place for another title run in 2020. The Lady Blues had nine seniors and returned eight starters, including Virginia's Class 2A Player of the Year, Mac Osborne.

Nearly every player in the dugout had playoff experience -- and the same will to win.

"The drive was more," Davis said quickly. "The motivation was more, in my opinion."

"We kind of wanted to prove to everyone that it just wasn't given to us," Osborne said. "We were there to win -- we earned it."

Winter workouts turned into preseason practice as the campaign crept closer. The Lady Blues even fit in two scrimmages against Northwood and Abingdon in early March.

"We were ready to go," Davis said. "Like I said, we had great practices, the kids were pumped up and ready to go. We were ready for that first game."

But opening day never came.

All Virginia sports were postponed due to COVID-19 and then cancelled on March 23.

"It kind of just hit me that I wouldn't get to play with the girls I grew up playing with," Osborne said.

"This is it," Newberry said. "Because everybody is going off -- going their own separate ways. I was like 'that was literally the last time I played on that field with my friends.'"

"My first thought was about the girls," Davis remembered. "I talked to other coaches […] and I said 'what do you say to them?' They said there's nothing much you can say."

"I don't think anyone really knew what to say, because who expects for something like this to come through -- worldwide and do something like this," Newberry shook her head. "It was rough."

Nearly two months later -- two months without softball -- there is a lot that the players miss.

I miss practice and listening to music," Osborne said. "You know, when the girls were hitting we'd all be out in the outfield shagging balls and dancing."

"Being on the field kind of just takes all the stress away," Newberry said. "You just kind of forget about time and you just do it, because I've done it for so long. That was just my thing to get away from things, you know?"

"I told them, you're gonna remember some games, but the most things you're gonna remember are the things that happened on the bus, the things that happened on the field during practice," Davis said. "The times that we're together."

Three trips to the state tournament, a state championship and an unfinished shot at another -- all memories that will last a lifetime.

It's safe to say, this team will be remembered for at least that long.

"I feel good about where we left off," Newberry smiled. "We left on top and everybody knows who we are now. They actually know the team we are."

Nick Dugan

Sports Director

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