CHAPMANVILLE — The Chapmanville Regional High School softball team would like to get a third shot at Wayne in the regional tournament but there is a team standing in the way.
The Scott Lady Hawks.
In order to get another chance at playing the two-time defending Class AA state champion Wayne Pioneers, the Lady Tigers must beat Scott first in the sectionals.
It will be no easy task.
It never is against the rival Lady Hawks.
Chapmanville and Scott are set to do battle next week in a best-of-three Class AA sectional tournament series.
The Lady Tigers were 13-10 heading into their final games of the regular season and have shown some improvement from last year’s team that went 15-17 and ended up being the first ever Chapmanville softball team to suffer a losing season.
Scott, which beat the Lady Tigers 4-1 in the only meeting this season between the two teams, had a 12-11 record heading into play this week. The Lady Hawks most recently lost 9-0 to Boone County Class A rival Sherman on Wednesday.
The winner of the Chapmanville-Scott sectional series will get Wayne in the region semifinals. The Pioneers are 4-0 this season over the Lady Tigers and Lady Hawks with 4-3 and 4-1 wins over Scott and a pair of 10-2 victories over Chapmanville.
Wayne has a cake-walk of a sectional against county rival Tolsia, a Cardinal Conference dormat which is 2-15 and has lost to Wayne 20-0 and 12-1 this season. The Rebels have surrendered 10 or more runs in 14 of their 17 games.
Wayne has knocked off Chapmanville in the regional semifinals in each of the last two seasons by 4-1 and 3-1 scores.
The Lady Tigers last made it to the state tournament in 2011 when Chapmanville was 1-2 with a win over Braxton County (1-0) and losses to Ritchie County (4-1) and Liberty Raleigh (5-4).
It’s been another up and down season for the young Lady Tigers’ team, coached by veteran mentor Ronnie Ooten, who has led the team since their inception in 1981 and has led Chapmanville to 2A state softball championships in 1999, 2004, 2007, 2009 and most recently in 2010.
Chapmanville has just one senior on this year’s team — first baseman Lauryn Easterling, one of the squad’s leading hitters.
CRHS coach Ronnie Ooten said it’s always tough to play Scott in the post-season.
“We just played them one game this season,” Ooten said. “We didn’t get to play the second game, so Scott will be the home team, that’s the way that we’ve got it set up. We’re sort of the underdog like we were last year. We’ve had a rough year. I knew we would. We’re real young and we will be next year, too. We only have one senior. With young kids you never know. They play real well one game and the next game they struggle. But I think that we’ll be OK.”
The Lady Tigers have a young pitching staff with sophomores Cydnee Lambert and Shian Meeks and freshman Faith Bell.
Meeks, who mostly plays shortstop, has provided Chapmanville a big stick this season with four home runs.
“She has hit the ball real well,” Ooten said of Meeks. “Lauryn has also hit the ball real well. Some of our bats are a little bit dead right now, but hopefully, they will wake up. We didn’t get to play at Poca on Wednesday night. We got rained out. We just have to wait and see and get ready for the tournament.”
Other Lady Tigers to watch are: second baseman Hope Kirk; catcher Savannah Wiley; third baseman Samarah Hurst; and outfielders Caitlin Elkins, Hollie Carter and Addy Lucas.
Chapmanville captured last year’s Class AA sectional title over Scott two games to one. In the decisive Game 3 at Madison, the Lady Tigers were a 6-5 winner. Scott took Game 1 by a 1-0 score. CRHS won Game 2 over the Lady Hawks, 2-1.
The Lady Tigers have won five straight sectional titles over Scott.
The last time Scott won the sectional title was in 2008 when the Lady Hawks knocked off the then defending state champion Lady Tigers, 8-6, in the finals which were played at Logan as Chapmanville’s season came to a close at 21-10. The ‘08 season was Logan’s last as a Class AA member. Chapmanville had lost 4-1 to Logan in the sectional opener, then creamed the Lady Cats 14-3 to advance.
The next year in 2009, Chapmanville, led by all-state pitcher and Player of the Year Andi Williamson, won the Class AA state championship and finished 31-3. Chapmanville beat Scott in the sectional tourney 1-0 and 12-0 as Williamson pitched a pair of shutouts.
In 2010, the Lady Tigers surprised many by reclaiming the Class AA state title despite a 25-14 record. Chapmanville again won the sectional title with 7-3 and 6-5 wins over Scott. The second game went 10 innings.
Then in 2011, CRHS was 23-8 and made it back to the state tourney, finishing 1-2. Chapmanville took the sectional title yet again with wins of 2-0 and 7-4 over Scott.
Ooten said Scott is always ready to play in the sectionals and the Lady Hawks are never easy to beat.
“It’s a major rivalry,” Ooten said. “(Scott coach) D.A. (Harless) and I are real good friends except for that day in the sectional. We get after each other. They are very competitive and when you play a rival it’s always tough in a tough section. I think that it could go either way. If we hit the ball I think that we will be OK. If they hit the ball well they will be OK. They are blessed with a couple of pretty good pitchers.”
Ooten is assisted by his wife, Barb Ooten, and David Elkins.
2014 Chapmanville Regional
High School Softball Schedule (13-10):
March 21: Tolsia, W 12-0
March 24: at Sissonville, L 1-7
March 27: Mingo Central, W 12-2
March 28: Herbert Hoover, L 6-11
March 31: Man, W 7-6
April 1: at Mingo Central, W 28-0
April 4: James Monroe (Lady Tigers Invitational), L 2-11
April 5: Pikeview (Lady Tigers Invitational), W 3-2
April 5: Richwood (Lady Tigers Invitational), W 12-0
April 7: at Wayne, L 2-10
April 8: Scott, L 1-4
April 10: Poca, W 4-3
April 11: Sherman, W 11-0
April 14: Lincoln County, L 0-17
April 16: Wayne, L 2-10
April 17: vs. St. Marys at Best of the Best Tournament at Buffalo, W 8-1
April 17: vs. Richwood at Best of the Best Tournament at Buffalo, W 10-0
April 19: vs. Nicholas County at Best of the Best Tournament at Buffalo, W 3-2
April 19: vs. Buffalo at Best of the Best Tournament at Buffalo, L 0-2
April 21: at Man, W 6-2
April 22: Sissonville, W 7-2
April 23: Logan, L 0-9
April 24: at Herbert Hoover, L 0-10
April 30: at Poca, ppd.
May 1: at Lincoln County, 5:30 p.m.
May 2: at Logan, 5:30 p.m.
May 3: at Tolsia, 5:30 p.m.