Led by all-state pitcher and Player of the Year Andi Williamson, the Lady Tigers cruised last year to the Class AA state championship, finishing with a 31-3 record.
However, Williamson had graduated and has taken her game to the University of Tennessee.
Also lost due to graduation were all-state catcher Poppy Ramey, first baseman Tiffini Hale and outfielders Lauren McCann and Beth Baldwin.
Chapmanville will look to its returnees for guidance in the upcoming season, which begins March 20 at Point Pleasant. Back are pitcher/infielders Allison and Jenna Vance, third baseman Bre Thomas, first baseman Danielle Brewster, outfielder Lauren Shumate, pitcher Haley McCann and others.
The Lady Tigers’ schedule is a challenge year in and year out.
This year is no exception.
Chapmanville is slated to take part in three tournaments — April 2-3 in its own Lady Tigers Invitational, April 7-10 at the Best of the Best at Buffalo and April 16-17 in the Sluggerfest tourney, hosted by Cabell Midland.
The Lady Tigers, along with county rivals Logan and Man, were all winners in last year’s Best of the Best as Chapmanville won the Double-A division, the Lady Cats took the 3A class and the Lady Billies won in the Class A tourney.
Chapmanville will once again play a home-and-home series against Logan in one of the top softball rivalries in the state. Last year, the Lady Tigers took two out of three meetings with Logan, beating the Lady Cats 3-1 in a memorable 13-inning game at Logan, falling at home to LHS, 1-0, and downing the Lady Cats 8-1 at the Cabell Midland Sluggerfest.
The Lady Tigers are set to host Logan on March 30, then play the Lady Cats on the road on April 24.
For the second straight season, however, Chapmanville is not scheduled to play Man. The Lady Billies went 23-0 last season and won the Class A state title. One of the last losses by Man was back in the 2008 Lady Tigers Invitational when Chapmanville downed Marlena Frye and the Lady Billies 2-1.
Logan also made it to the Class AAA state tourney as all three county softball teams were in Vienna last year.
The Lady Tigers will also have home-and-homes against Class AA sectional rival Scott, as well as Sherman and Cardinal Conference foes Poca, Point Pleasant, Wayne, Herbert Hoover and Sissonville. Chapmanville also has single games against Liberty Raleigh and Tolsia, a school that will join the Cardinal Conference next fall as the league’s seventh team. Chapmanville is led by 30-year head coach Ronnie Ooten, who has coached the team from its inception in 1981. Ooten has also led the Lady Tigers to state championships in 1999, and 2007.