VIENNA — Once Lincoln County grabbed a third-inning lead in the Class AAA state final, senior Brooke West made sure it stood up.
West closed out the game and her senior season by retiring 13 straight batters in a 2-0 victory over Musselman. Combined with Lincoln County’s state championship in 2011, Thursday’s win served as a crowning bookend to West’s high school career.
“Winning it my freshman year and again now for us three seniors, it’s an amazing feeling,” she said.
After West doubled and scored the game’s opening run on a singly by Brandi Isaacs, the left-hander turned sharp in the circle. Over the final four innings, Musselman managed to get only one ball out of the infield—a fly ball to center.
“She’s just amazing to watch and to coach to be around,” said Lincoln County coach Rod Hoover. “Everyone on this team has contributed, but she stands out. She’s carried all season.”
Megan Tully’s RBI single scored Isaacs with an insurance run in the fifth as Lincoln County (31-8) wrapped up a 3-0 stay at Jackson Memorial Park.
Musselman (28-5), after dropping Thursday’s opener 9-1 to the Panthers, rebounded with wins over Ripley and Wheeling Park to reach the final.
“I thought we came back and put up a fight,” said Musselman coach Shannon Demasi. “We’ve been pretty successful because the girls work hard and take pride in it. They played hard for me. I couldn’t ask anything more from them.”
Sophomore Sabrina Shroades took the loss while throwing a complete-game four-hitter.
Class AA Championship:
Herbert Hoover 12,
Ritchie County 6
VIENNA —With all the tears streaming from Allison Rager, it was hard to tell whether the Herbert Hoover softball team had won its first state title or come up short again.
Turns out these were happy tears from happy Huskies, who finally took home the Class AA trophy. They capped it with an eight-run sixth-inning outburst to rally past Ritchie County 12-6.
“It’s just overwhelming,” said Rager, choking up repeatedly as her teammates posed nearby with award plaques. “Over the years it has been really hard to lose out early (in the playoffs). But we knew we had the talent and we worked so hard to get to this point.
“Winning this year was for all the teams in the past.”
Along with compiling a 3-0 pitching mark at the state tournament, Rager provided a pivotal—and bizarre—hit during the big sixth after Hoover drew even at 5-all.
The Huskies (32-6) had had two runners in scoring position when Ritchie County sought to intentionally walk Rager. But Moie Ray’s 2-0 pitch floated over the plate, and Rager swatted it to the fence in left-center for the go-ahead double.
“I was up on the plate and I was going to try to reach anything I could,” the junior said. “Then she threw something right down the middle.”
That deflated Ritchie County (27-7), which committed four errors and a wild pitch in the inning.
The Rebels, playing their third game of the day and trying to force a fourth, seemed to be in good shape after taking a 5-3 lead on Kenna DeLancey’s two-run homer in the fifth.
But Hoover got one run back in the bottom half fifth before sending 12 batters to the plate in the sixth inning that Ritchie County coach Dave Mossor described with a single word: “Bang!”
Even Hoover coach Missy Smith admitted she couldn’t foresee such an offensive explosion, even though her squad had score double-digit runs 15 times this season (including 27 in one blowout).
When it was finished, Smith hugged parents on the infield and reflected with tears of her own about what the title means to the school.
“It really belongs to everybody,” Smith said. “It’s not just our state championship, it’s for everybody who’s ever been here.”
Class A Championship:
VIENNA – With Buffalo’s softball program having developed a craving for championships, when will the Class A crown land anywhere else?
The Bison accomplished a four-peat Thursday by mercy-ruling Moorefield 8-0 in five innings.
In posting three wins over two days at Jackson Memorial Park, Buffalo (29-7) crushed opponents by a 28-3 margin.
“I think we showed people here what Buffalo’s all about,” said coach Darrell Moore.
In actuality, they’ve been showing people for a while.
Moore’s six-member senior class includes four starters who have averaged 30-plus wins a season and strung together the second-longest softball dynasty since West Virginia began sanctioning the sport in 1981.
“Our seniors, they’re special,” Moore said. “I’ve worked with them since they were 8 or 9 years old. It’s hard losing them, but it’s a blessing seeing them go on into their careers.”
Among those moving on is right-handed pitcher Chelsey Parkins, who took the circle intent on a singular mission: Ending her senior season the same way she ended the previous three.
She allowed three hits, walked two and struck out seven in a performance abbreviated by Buffalo’s dominance.
When Parkins scored her team’s eighth run in the bottom of the fourth, she knew she needed only three outs to seal another championship. She completed her team’s 19th shutout of the season—and sixth of the playoffs—with a perfect inning.
“This one is probably the most special,” said Parkins. “I couldn’t imagine ending my career any other way.”
All but forgotten was a late-March stretch in which Buffalo started the season 1-5. More important was how the Bison ended it: outscoring eight postseason opponents 65-4.
“From Day One we’ve had a target on our back,” Parkins said. “But we had a goal from the beginning of the season to make it back to Vienna.”
If not for Buffalo, Moorefield (25-8) might be building its own dynasty. The Yellow Jackets finished as Class A runners-up for the third consecutive year.
“We know that Buffalo’s always a powerhouse,” said Moorefield coach Tammie Ayers. “We just struggled hitting today and we had a few errors.”
Buffalo collected nine hits, including a second-inning RBI double by senior Katie Higginbotham. Another soon-to-be graduate, Noell Dingess, bunted home a run. But don’t forget about the underclassmen as Buffalo begins to chase the record seven straight titles won by Wheeling Central from 1995-2001.
Junior Ali Burdette, a star pitcher in her own right, had two hits and scored two runs against Moorefield, while sophomore catcher Chase Christy had a two-run single and junior Paige England singled home another run.
Beth Cook homered and doubled in another run as Moorefield (24-7) survived with a 6-3 win over Sherman on Wednesday in the Class A state softball tourney at Vienna.
Jordan Lewis collected two hits and scored two runs for Sherman, which ended its season at 20-15.
The Tide didn’t go quietly, loading the bases in the bottom of the seventh, before Moorefield’s Danica Rogers induced an infield popup to close the game.
Sophomore Davianne Croasmun hit a two-run first-inning single before leading off the fourth with a homer that broke a 2-2 tie as Magnolia beat Sherman 4-2 on Wednesday in the first day of the Class A softball tourney at Vienna.
Sherman outhit the Blue Eagles 5-4 but couldn’t overcome 11 strikeouts by Mallory Chapman.
The Tide used an error and Baylee Harless’ RBI single for its first run, before Jordan Lewis singled in the third inning and scored on a wild pitch.
Prep softball — state tournament
At Jackson Memorial Park, Vienna
Game 1: Wheeling Park 7, Ripley 1
Game 2: Lincoln County 9, Musselman 1
Game 3: Musselman 3, Ripley 2, 10 innings, Ripley eliminated
Game 4: Wheeling Park vs. Lincoln County, ppd., rain
Game 4: Lincoln County 2, Wheeling Park 0
Game 5: Musselman 6, Wheeling Park 1, Wheeling Park eliminated
Game 6: Championship, Lincoln County 2, Musselman 0
Game 1: Ritchie County 3, Westside 1
Game 2: Herbert Hoover 8, Petersburg 2
Game 3: Petersburg 4, Westside 2, Westside eliminated
Game 4: Herbert Hoover vs. Ritchie County, susp.
Game 4: Herbert Hoover 7, Ritchie County 1
Game 5: Ritchie County 1, Petersburg 0, Petersburg eliminated
Game 6: Championship, Herbert Hoover 12, Ritchie County 6
Game 1: Magnolia 4, Sherman 2
Game 2: Buffalo 14, Moorefield 3, 6 innings
Game 3: Moorefield 6, Sherman 3, Sherman eliminated
Game 4: Buffalo vs. Magnolia, susp.
Game 4: Buffalo 6, Magnolia 1
Game 5: Moorefield 1, Magnolia 0, Magnolia eliminated
Game 6: Championship, Buffalo 8, Moorefield 0, 5 innings