After playing a month of regular season games — preseason games if you will — Logan County’s three high school softball teams are ready for the real deal.
The road to Vienna and the state softball tournament begins next week for Logan, Chapmanville and Man as the trio of teams are scheduled to take part in its respective double-elimination sectional tournaments.
Class AA Chapmanville Regional High School, 19-4 heading into this weekend’s action, is the only team which is scheduled to play at home in sectional play.
The Lady Tigers received the first-round bye and are slated to play Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. against the winner of Tuesday’s opener pitting Scott and Mingo Central.
Chapmanville and Scott have played a two-team sectional the last three years after Logan left in 2009 in its return to the Triple-A ranks.
The Lady Tigers have won the last three sectional titles and went on to win the Class AA state championship in 2007, 2009 and 2010. Scott took the sectional title in 2008.
Chapmanville made it to the state tourney last year but went a disappointing 1-2 to finish third.
After the Lady Tigers’ game on Wednesday, the losers of the first two sectional games would then play an elimination game at 7 p.m.
The finals are then set for Thursday, May 3 at 5:30 p.m. A winner-take-all final would then be played at 7:30 p.m., if necessary.
The Lady Tigers are the prohibitive favorite to win the sectional title. Chapmanville has had no trouble this season with Scott and Mingo Central as the Lady Tigers are 4-0 against the Lady Hawks and Lady Miners, winning 16-0 and 10-0 over MC and 7-0 and 11-3 over Scott.
Mingo Central and Scott have both struggled this season.
The Miners, playing in their first season, are just 2-15 with wins over Tug Valley (12-1) and Tolsia (19-11). Mingo Central is the first-year consolidation of the former Matewan, Williamson, Burch and Gilbert high schools — four schools which didn’t have much success on the girls’ softball diamond over the years.
Scott has uncharacteristically been down this spring and are just 10-15. The Lady Hawks have played better of late, however, winning six out of their last nine contests.
Chapmanville, coached by 32-year mentor Ronnie Ooten, is on a roll heading into the sectionals as the Lady Tigers have gone 10-1 over their last 11 contests.
CRHS last played on Tuesday, falling 2-1 at Cardinal Conference and regional foe Herbert Hoover. Chapmanville won 2-1 in 10 innings on Monday at home over Logan.
The Lady Tigers were slated to play a pair of games on Thursday at home against Wayne and at Poca. Chapmanville then is set to play at Tolsia on Friday and at home on Monday against Lincoln County at 5:30 p.m. in the regular season finale.
Chapmanville is led by senior twins Allison Evans and Jenna Evans. The sisters were hitting an identical .429 heading into the Logan game. The two have also been the Lady Tigers’ top two pitchers this season.
Other key Lady Tigers include: senior first baseman Heather Nagy (.387); third baseman Savanna Vance (.419); outfielder Brandi Broom (.370); DH and pitcher Talya Berry (.359); and senior catcher Alyssa Bailey (.305).
The Lady Tigers’ only other losses this season were to Logan (7-1), Wayne (1-0) and Lincoln County (4-3). Chapmanville could meet Wayne in the regional semifinals if both teams are able to survive sectional play.
Chapmanville has won five state titles in its history, also taking crowns in 1999 and 2004 under Ooten.
In the Class AAA sectional tourney, Logan High School is set to travel to South Charleston next week. The Lady Cats (20-4) are scheduled to play next Wednesday at 7 p.m. against the winner of the opener pitting George Washington and the host South Charleston Black Eagles.
The Lady Cats, led by veteran coach Randy Robinette, are 3-0 this season over their sectional opponents, winning 3-2 over South Charleston and sweeping past GW 14-0 and 9-1.
Logan, winners of the state softball championship in 1986, 2001, 2002 and 2006, are also hoping to make it back to the state tourney and have a better showing.
Like Chapmanville, the Lady Cats went 1-2 last year at state.
Logan is led by pitching ace and third baseman Morgan Aguirre.
Other top players are: senior pitcher/infielder Taylor Norman; senior outfielder Emily Vinson; senior first baseman Lara Sedlock, senior catcher Katie Chryssofos; outfielders Antonia Hill and Shana Hall; and shortstop and leadoff switch-hitter Rachelle Toppings.
Sedlock, Norman, Aguirre and Chryssofos have been Logan’s heaviest hitters this season. Sedlock has been hitting around the .500 mark for much of the season. Chryssofos is a long ball threat having hit 13 home runs as a sophomore and 10 more as a junior last season.
Logan hopes to get Norman back in the lineup for the post-season. She sprained her ankle recently in the Best of the Best Tournament at Buffalo and has sat out the last five games in which Logan has gone 3-2, falling to Chapmanville and also to defending Class AAA state champion Lincoln County, 9-6.
Lincoln County swept the season series with the Lady Cats, also winning 6-5 in the season opener at Logan. The Lady Cats’ other setback this season was an 8-2 loss at home to Sherman on March 30. LHS then reeled off 15 straight wins before the second defeat to Lincoln County.
Logan was scheduled to close out the regular season with three road games at Winfield, Nicholas County and Sherman. The game with Winfield on Thursday was rained out.
In Class A, Man High School currently stands at 11-7 after Wednesday’s 5-1 loss at Logan.
The Lady Billies have the shortest road to Vienna.
Man is set to take on the winner of the Charleston Catholic-Van game on Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the second game of the Class A sectional, scheduled to be played at Little Creek Park in Charleston.
The finals are then set for Thursday night.
Charleston Catholic and Van have both struggled this season.
The Lady Billies swept the season series with Catholic, winning 13-0 and 11-0. Man and Van were rained out three times this year and didn’t play each other.
Man, led by pitcher Taylor Tomblin, won the Class A state championship in 2008 and 2009 and were the state runner-ups in 2010. The Lady Billies, which also won the state title in 1983, failed to make it back to Vienna last year.
Other key Man players are: catcher Summer Sword; center fielder Emilee Osborne; and shortstop Cari Blair. First baseman Madison Keffer, Micayla Gibson, Casey Albright, Tabitha Ferguson and Elizabeth Dickerson are other Man players in the batting order.
If favored Man is able to win another sectional title, the Lady Billies would then have a bye in the Class A regional semifinals and would most likely square off with Buffalo in the regional championship game. Buffalo was 21-5 going into action this week.
The Lady Billies are coached by Randy Epperly.