Potomac, despite recent covid issues, dominates for ISL softball title

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On May 3, a day after feeling fatigued while pitching for Potomac, Yanna Bravewolf tested positive for the coronavirus. So after taking more than a week off, she spent the past two days working out on a local high school’s turf field, trying to get back to her team for Saturday’s Independent School League AA softball championship.

She had already missed two games, one of them in this ISL tournament. These workouts were a test — for herself and for her school’s athletic trainer — to ensure no effects of her illness remained.

After getting the go-ahead Friday night to rejoin her team, Bravewolf led off Saturday’s game against Flint Hill. She drew a walk, stole second base and then scored on a double. The Panthers jumped out early in Alexandria and pummeled the Huskies, 15-0, in a four-inning mercy-rule victory for the league crown.

“I just was missing [my team] so much while I was in quarantine and I was just envisioning the day I would come back and be able to give them all a hug,” said Bravewolf, who played first base Saturday. “This team is so special to me, and I’m going to be so sad when I leave. … Today was definitely my favorite moment of the week.”

Potomac (17-1) finished with the best conference record and won the tournament title — the first time accomplishing both in the same season since 2005. The tournament victory is the team’s sixth and first since 2019. The Panthers’ last three tournament championship victories have all come against the Huskies (9-5).

This one came without Coach Wayne Loving, who found himself in an unusual place during a game — at home.

Loving also recently tested positive for the coronavirus and had to support his team from afar. He spent the contest refreshing the GameChanger app for play-by-play updates.

“Time will tell,” Loving said over the phone before the game, when asked how he’d manage his nerves without having his usual activities of pitch-calling and third-base coaching to distract him.

The early lead and his team’s dominance quieted any worry.

“It was very relaxing,” he said afterward. “After getting three runs in the first inning and a few more in the second, it was easy to watch.”

The Panthers will begin the Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association playoffs Tuesday.

Maret shut down Stone Ridge, 6-0, to win the ISL softball A tournament championship behind a strong pitching performance by junior CJ Roy, who finished with 10 strikeouts in a complete game.

“Came out strong and finished strong,” Coach Janet Reed said. “We’re excited to go into AA [next year] and compete with the upper-league teams.”

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