The Chapmanville Regional High School softball team always plays a challenging schedule.
This spring will be no exception.
The Lady Tigers’ 28-game schedule was released last week and several big games are on the slate.
When Chapmanville takes to the field for its 2021 opener on April 12 at Corridor G rival Scott it will be two years since the Lady Tigers have played a game after the entire 2020 season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Chapmanville hasn’t played a game since the 2019 sectionals when CRHS lost a 10-9 extra inning thriller at Lincoln County in the sectional finals, blowing a 9-6 late-inning lead and closing out the season with a 17-13 record. Lincoln County, which went on to lose to Nitro in the regional tournament, beat Chapmanville two out of three meetings in last year’s double-elimination sectional tourney.
Several tough games are on Chapmanville’s schedule including a home-and-away series against Cardinal Conference team Herbert Hoover, the three-time defending Class AA state champions from 2017-19.
The Huskies beat Chapmanville in the 2017 and 2018 state championship game after the Lady Tigers won the 2016 state title.
CRHS also has a home-and-away series against county rivals Logan and Man and a single game against 2019 Class A state champion Sherman.
In addition, a home-and-away series against now Class AAA Lincoln County also highlights the schedule as well as conference matchups against league contenders Winfield, Wayne, Sissonville and Nitro.
Chapmanville’s other non-conference games are a home-and-away series against Class A Tug Valley and a single contest against 2A Wyoming East.
CRHS is set to host its own Lady Tigers Invitational Tournament, May 6-8.
Chapmanville has a new Class AA sectional this year with new team Wayne, along with holdovers Logan, Scott and Mingo Central.
Man and Lincoln County, which were in the six-team Class AA sectional the last four years, have moved to Class A and Class AAA respectively.
Wayne, which won the Class AA state championship in 2012 and 2013, usually has a strong softball tradition.
The season starts and ends roughly a month later than normal.
It comes to a close June 22-23 with the state tournament at South Charleston’s turfed Little Creek Park.
Since basketball season will run all the way through April after starting in early March, that means the winter and spring sports will overlap.
The 2019 season ended a remarkable run by the Lady Tigers which had gone 80-17 the previous three seasons.
Last year, if played expected to be another rebuilding season for Chapmanville.
“It’s a shame. I thought that if our pitching came up we would have had a team that could have hit with anybody this season,” Chapmanville coach Ronnie Ooten said in a previous interview.
Last year’s senior players were not able to take the field as the entire campaign was wiped out. Those players included: KK Davis; Jenna Barker; Cameron Dodrill; Tonya McCormick; and Faith Toppins, a transfer from Lincoln County.
This spring will be Ooten’s 40th season as head coach of the Chapmanville Lady Tigers, the only coach Chapmanville High School/Chapmanville Regional High School has ever had.
Ooten, a Logan High School and Marshall University graduate, began coaching Chapmanville softball in 1981 when the WVSSAC first sanctioned girls softball, and is the only head coach the Lady Tigers have ever had.
He’s also the winningest coach in West Virginia high school softball history with a 701-168 all-time record, a remarkable 80.6 winning percentage. Ooten has led Chapmanville softball to six Class AA state championships in 1999, 2004, 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2016.
The Lady Tigers have top pitcher Sierra Cook back.
Cook, a senior pitcher and first baseman, had a 8-6 record on the mound for the Lady Tigers with a 2.04 ERA in 2019. She had 133 strikeouts and just 20 walks and had one save. She was also voted Class AA Special Honorable Mention All-State last year by the media and was also a First-Team All-Conference pick.
“She wasn’t going to come out last year,” Ooten said. “She was worn out and tired. She had been playing ever since she was 5 or 6 years old and never had a break. But I told her not to play travel ball if she didn’t want to and have a break. She came out last spring and had worked real hard and hard a great attitude. We had three or four good pitchers.”
Chapmanville also had back Second-Team All-Conference selection Ashleigh Mahon and also Sidnee Varney, Baylee Belcher, Katlin Moore, pitcher Haley Adkins and others coming back.
Mahon, a sophomore, had a big freshman season in 2019 and played catcher in place of the injured Davis, who sat out much of 2019 with a knee injury. Mahon hit .301 in 2019 with three homers and a .534 slugging percentage.
Last year was also to be the first time the state tourney was to be held at South Charleston and on turf.
The state tournament had been held the last 16 years at Jackson Memorial Park in Vienna.
After years of poor field conditions on the three grass fields, a bevvy of complaints and perceived lack of field management, the 2019 state tournament was the last one Vienna played host.
The expansive mountaintop facility has multiple turfed fields suitable for either Little League baseball or softball. There’s also a turfed football field, two natural grass baseball/softball fields, five natural grass soccer fields, basketball and tennis courts, soap box derby racing, an 18-hole disc golf course, hiking trails and plenty of space for picnics with 10 shelters.
Vienna had been the site of eight state championships from Logan County teams: Chapmanville (2004, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2016); Man (2008 and 2009) and Logan (2006).
2021 Chapmanville Regional High School
April 12: *at Scott, 5:30 p.m.
April 13: Mingo Central, 5:30 p.m.
April 14: *at Winfield, 5:30 p.m.
April 15: *at Poca, 6 p.m.
April 16: *Herbert Hoover, 5:30 p.m.
April 20: *Sissonville, 5:30 p.m.
April 21: *Logan, 5:30 p.m.
April 22: at Tug Valley, 5:30 p.m.
April 23: at Sherman, 5:30 p.m.
April 26: Lincoln County, 5:30 p.m.
April 27: at Man, 5:30 p.m.
April 28: *Winfield, 5:30 p.m.
April 29: *Nitro, 5:30 p.m.
April 30: *Wayne, 5:30 p.m.
May 3: at Mingo Central, 5:30 p.m.
May 6-8: Chapmanville Invitational Tournament, TBA
May 10: Man, 5:30 p.m.
May 11: *at Wayne, 5:30 p.m.
May 13: Tug Valley, 5:30 p.m.
May 18: at Lincoln County, 5:30 p.m.
May 19: *at Nitro, 5:30 p.m.
May 20: *Scott, 5:30 p.m.
May 21: at Wyoming East, 5:30 p.m.
May 24: *at Logan, 5:30 p.m.
May 25: *at Herbert Hoover, 5:30 p.m.
May 27: *at Sissonville, 5:30 p.m.
*Cardinal Conference game