The Lady Maroon Knights splashed through the mud throwing 23 strikeouts in the first round of the Class A state softball tournament, but couldn’t shake the pesky Lady Yellow Jackets forcing nine innings before notching the game-winning home run for a 5-3 final.
“That game was tough from beginning to end. I can’t say enough about both teams. They battled and I’m happy we came out on top,” Wheeling Central Catholic coach Buck Davidson remarked.
“It’s hard to get the lead twice just to give it up to be tied and finally came through. You can’t say enough about Riley and the way she pitched. They’re [Moorefield] not going to give up. You are going to have to play them seven to nine innings.”
A torrential downpour on Tuesday night inundated the three state softball tournament fields with water creating muddy conditions causing a delay of the opening round games.
The rain came so quickly, that there was no time to put the tarps on the fields.
After waiting for nearly two hours, the teams were allowed to come to the dugouts and the players danced to music as the ground crew continued to drain the outfield.
The Class A field was too wet to be played on, so Moorefield and Wheeling Central Catholic played on the Class AA field after those games were completed.
The Vienna Parks and Recreation Department and city personnel drained over 5,000 gallons of water from the fields.
When the Moorefield game was being played, the Class A field was cleared for action despite a muddy outfield and eventually both sessions were played with one game pushing just past midnight.
“Very good game, very well-played by both teams,” Moorefield coach Tammie Ayers noted.
“We had a couple of errors that cost us a couple runs. I really believe that’s what did it, because we had them beat about four times. We just fell short, but they know we are here.”
Moorefield sophomore pitcher Hanna Carlson tossed a complete game with six strikeouts on 104 pitches, while Wheeling Central Catholic senior pitcher Riley Bennington went all nine innings recording 23 strikeouts on 187 pitches in addition to hitting the game-winning two-run home run.
Carlson induced a groundout by Bennington to Moorefield junior shortstop Rebekah Markwood throwing to junior first baseman Alyssa Vetter to begin the opening round contest, then a pop-up by Jairika Baylor was just missed on a diving attempt by freshman catcher Alyson Simmons before striking out.
Wheeling Central Catholic’s Julia Padden singled on a blooper into left field and was stranded on a groundout by Olivia Carpenter.
Moorefield went down in order as Markwood struck out, freshman left fielder Remi Hinkle popped out to Bennington and Carlson struck out on a full-count to end the frame.
The Lady Maroon Knights failed to reach base in the second inning as Kaitlyn Ferns grounded out to Moorefield junior third baseman Macie Zirk, Allison Davidson flew out to freshman right fielder Tori Humphries and Marissa Garlitz grounded out to Markwood.
Moorefield sophomore Madison McGregor singled up the middle to begin the second inning and had to make a dive back to first base moments later on a pickoff attempt.