VIENNA — The state tournament bug came up and bit the Logan High School softball team again this year.
Logan finished third in this year’s Class AAA state tourney with a 1-2 mark as the Lady Cats were ousted by Parkersburg South, 6-0, in Thursday’s loser’s bracket elimination game at Jackson Memorial Park in Vienna.
Logan closed out the year 28-7 but lost in the state tournament for the fourth straight season.
It was the second year the Lady Cats had finished 1-2 at state. Logan, which has four state softball championships in its history, closed out 1-2 for the second straight year in the state tourney. The Lady Cats went 2-2 in 2010 to finish as the state runner-ups and were also 1-2 in 2009.
It was quite a ride, however, for Logan’s six seniors.
Despite not being able to bring home the gold, the Lady Cats’ seniors — Taylor Norman, Morgan Aguirre, Emily Allred, Emily Vinson, Katie Chryssofos and Lara Sedlock — made school history by becoming the first group to play in the state softball tournament in all four of their varsity seasons.
Logan split on Wednesday in the first day of the double-elimination tourney, falling 8-3 to Parkersburg South, then winning 8-0 over Robert C. Byrd to stay alive.
The Lady Cats had a huge mountain to climb on Thursday.
Logan would have had to have won three games in the sun and heat in order to take the crown.
But it just wasn’t meant to be.
Logan saw its bats come alive in the win over RCB with the Lady Cats’ 12-hit attack.
However, against South, the bats fell silent again as Patriots’ hurler CeCe Bailey fired a complete game four-hit shutout with four strikeouts, no walks and one hit batter.
“We just didn’t have any bats,” Logan coach Randy Robinette said. “The longer we went the more they got accustomed to the speed of the pitcher. They hit the ball. We didn’t. It’s real simple. It’s not rocket science. You’ve got to play when you get here. You have to hit. We didn’t hit. Then the mistakes piled up and it sort of snow-balled from there. Hitters have to hit. Our hitters have to hit. It’s an explanation to why this happened.”
The game was scoreless after four innings before South plated two runs in the top of the fifth off Logan starter Norman. Parkersburg South pinch-hitter Gabby Ruble got it started with an RBI double to left to make it 1-0. Two batters later, Kristen Hamilton ripped an RBI double over the head of Logan left fielder Antonia Hill to the fence to make it a 2-0 ballgame.
The Patriots added another in the sixth and chased Norman off the mound in favor of Aguirre. South made it 3-0 as hard-hitting catcher Gena Trippett had an infield single and later scored on a Logan error.
Logan catcher Chryssofos made an outstanding play at the plate during the sixth. Alex West tapped one to first as Logan first baseman Sedlock stepped on the bag and then fired home to nail a sliding Bailey at the plate for a double play. Bailey slid full force into Chryssofos, who was blocking the plate and was knocked down. Chryssofos was shaken up on the play but was able to continue after a few minutes.
Chryssofos was one of Logan’s bright spots in the game.
Earlier in the third inning and Logan and South mired in a scoreless tie, Chryssofos lunged to the backstop and grabbed a foul ball off the bat of Logan Somerville.
Logan’s defense, though, committed three errors in the game.
“Our catcher had some outstanding plays on defense but we had some mistakes on defense, too, which allowed them to get into position to get those hits,” Robinette said. “You have to play when you get here and we didn’t.”
Logan had hoped to get on top in the first inning after Norman sat down the Patriots one, two, three.
Shortstop Rachelle Toppings led off with a slap single to left. Norman bunted her over to second and Sedlock was safe on a fielder’s choice play to put the runners at the corners with one out.
Chryssofos then flew out to shallow center. Coach Robinette, wanting to make something happen, sent Toppings from third but she was gunned down at the plate and tagged out by Trippett for an inning-ending double play.
Bailey then settled down and dominated Logan’s batters the rest of the way.
Vinson had a two-out single in the second and Toppings had a bunt single with one out in the third. The only other hit was a one-hit single to left by Sedlock in the sixth.
Bailey then put down Logan in order in the bottom of the seventh to move on in the state tournament.
Toppings led Logan at the plate as she was 2-for-3.
Morgan Trippett was 3-for-3 to lead the Patriots.
Norman went 5.2 innings and allowed three runs and seven hits with five strikeouts, one walk and one hit batter.
Aguirre tossed 1.1 innings and yielded three runs and two hits with two strikeouts and no walks.
Logan went 1-2 against Parkersburg South this year, scoring a 10-2 win during the regular season.
The two teams had previously met in the Class AAA state tourney.
Back in 2001 at Summersville, Logan toppled South 2-1 in the state finals, to close out with a 33-4 record and state championship.
The next year in 2002, Logan repeated as 3A state champs, downing Parkersburg South by the same 2-1 score in the opener before going 2-1 against Cabell Midland to claim the title with a 33-5 record.