PARKERSBURG (AP) — All season long, defending Class AA state champion Ritchie County and Wayne appeared to be headed for a showdown at the state softball tournament in Vienna.
That showdown occurred, and the Rebels and Pioneers clashed three times, with Wayne coming out on top in the final two to take home the school’s first state title in the sport.
Fittingly, both teams placed three of their standouts on the Class AA all-state first team, which was announced today by the West Virginia Sports Writers Association.
Representing the state champion Pioneers are pitcher Jessie Rowe and infielders Jessica Watts and Jacey Parsons. The Ritchie trio includes catcher Allison DeLancey, who was selected the team’s captain for the second year in a row, pitcher Kelsey Waggoner and infielder Cassidy Ray.
“[Rowe] is our workhorse on the field and has led this team to their first state championship,” said Wayne head coach Tish Smith. “She seems to perform her best when the situation seems too much to handle for some.”
Rowe, a sophomore, posted a 21-3 mark with 115 strikeouts during the regular season, then twirled a one-hitter against the Rebels in the winner-take-all state championship game.
Ritchie’s DeLancey, who finished with 12 home runs, 39 stolen bases and a .622 batting average, was one of Rowe’s victims, being held hitless in the title game.
“Despite that game, [DeLancey] was the best player in the state this year,” said Rebels coach Dave Mossor. “She has always had the ability to hit, but combine that with the talent to play any position on the field as well as the ability to steal any base at any time and there was no more complete player around.
“To be honest, I’m not sure what we are going to do without her next year.”
Rowe and DeLancey were two of eight repeat performers on this year’s first team. Also returning to the first team from a year ago are Magnolia’s Tori Tharp, Waggoner, Braxton County’s Charity Ramsey, Sissonville’s Dee Dee Loftis, Shady Spring’s Katie Snodgress and Chapmanville’s Allison Evans.
Tharp, Rowe, Keyser’s Meghan Anderson, Waggoner and Herbert Hoover’s Allison Rager make up the first-team pitching staff. Rowe is a sophomore and Rager is a freshman.
Tharp posted an 18-2 mark with 194 strikeouts and a 1.20 earned-run average while Anderson was 14-5 (2.16 ERA), Waggoner 11-3 (0.83) and Rager 20-3 (1.23).
The first team infield includes Watts (.338, 19 RBIs), Roane County’s Kelly Hall (.545, 16 RBIs), Ray (.578), Parsons (.404, 19 RBIs) and Sissonville’s Bekah Baldwin (.506, 10 HR, 36 RBIs), who moved up from second team.
In the outfield, Petersburg freshman Kaitlyn Keplinger (.462, 25 RBIs) joins Snodgress (.451, 17 RBIs) and Ramsey (.436, 14 RBIs). Chosen as utility players were Evans, Lincoln freshman Allison Winans (.418, 42 RBIs, 16-3 pitching record) and Loftis (.449, 15 RBIs).
Joining DeLancey at catcher is Poca senior Madi McGrew (.564, 30 RBIs), a second-team choice in 2011.
The second team has six repeat selections in Independence’s Kelci Jones (P), a first-team performer in 2011, Braxton County pitcher Taylor Bragg, Teala Homberg of Grafton, catcher Marissa Bosley of Magnolia, Wayne catcher Kayla Adams and Chapmanville utility player Jenna Evans, who was chosen as the unit’s captain.
Twin sisters Allison and Jenna Evans are both set to play collegiate softball at the University of Charleston.
Heading into regional play, Allison Evans was leading the Lady Tigers in hitting as she was batting .424 with one home run and 39 hits in 92 official trips to the plate. On the mound, she was 15-2. Jenna Evans had a .395 batting average as she is 34-for-86 at the plate. Within the circle, she is 7-2 with one save.
Rounding out the second team are Sherman’s Tori May and Kelsie Thompson of Liberty Harrison at pitcher, infielders Lexi Lawrence of Herbert Hoover, Sam Hoban of Keyser, McKenzie Smith of Sherman, Shady Spring’s Michelle Snodgrass and Chapmanville’s Heather Nagy, outfielders Haley Hunter of James Monroe, Vanessa Tallman of Ritchie County and Lauren Rogers of Phillip Barbour and utility players Sami Elder of Lincoln and Mallory Chapman of Magnolia.
Nagy, Chapmanville’s third baseman hit at a .357 clip with 30 hits this season.
* Also from Chapmanville, Brandi Broom and Savanna Vance were special honorable mention, while Talya Berry was voted honorable mention.
Third baseman Vance hit .393 average with 33 total hits, while Broom had a .372 batting average, one homer and 35 base hits. Berry hit .350 with one home run this season as Chapmanville’s DP.
The Lady Tigers lost 8-3 to eventual state champion Wayne in the Class AA semifinals at home.
Chapmanville closed out the season with a 24-6 record.
— Logan Banner Sports Editor Paul Adkins contributed to this report