May 25th, 2011
No. 1 Bishop O'Connell Stunned By Liberty
Virginia Independent top seed falls 5-2 to No. 2 seed
For a few years now, Tommy Orndorff has predicted and warned that Liberty Christian Academy was more than capable of winning a state championship.
That happened this week, as coach Orndorff’s top seed and eight-time defending champion Bishop O’Connell Knights (22-4) fell victim to that No. 2-seeded team, 5-2, in the girls softball title game of the Virginia Independent School Division I state tournament in Petersburg.
The loss snapped O’Connell’s 26-game winning streak in state playoff competition. The state title was the first for Liberty Christian.
“They are a very good team and we didn’t play well,” said Orndorff, whose Knights defeated Liberty Christian in last year’s state final. “We missed some opportunities and made mistakes. We didn’t catch fly balls, made mistakes on bunts and shot ourselves in the foot with lapses on the bases. That all equated to a loss.”
Also, O’Connell had two runners picked off.
“They have a very good pitcher [Kylian Harrison] and catcher [Andrea Lowery] and they played well,” Orndorff said.
Since losing in last year’s state final, Liberty Christian players and coaches were gearing and motivated for another shot at the Knights.
“Last year they had tears in their eyes after the state final, this year it was our turn for the tears,” Orndorff said. “They have built a very good program, so you don’t mind losing to them. We have been able to pull it out every year, but at some time that is going to end.”
Orndorff said Liberty Christian was the second best team, after Northern of Maryland, O’Connell faced this season. Jilly Falle (20-4) pitched a complete game to take the loss in the state final. She allowed seven hits, fanned five and walked one.
“Jilly had an old arm injury resurface, but she still pitched well,” Orndorff said. “We didn’t play good enough defense behind her.”
O’Connell had seven hits. Jillian Ferraro was 3 for 3 and Jessica Burk, Sophie Giaquinto, Amanda Ehlers and Allison Grasmeder (triple) all had one hit.