The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Latest Sports

May 28, 2013

3 Buffalo players highlight Class A softball all-state first team

CHARLESTON — A high school softball team rarely makes its way through the West Virginia state tournament without giving up a run.

Only once has a team managed to navigate the tournament’s double-elimination format by scoring only three runs and yet still emerged with a state championship.

In winning its third consecutive Class A state championship, Buffalo accomplished both feats last week in Vienna. A quick glance over the Class A all-state team released today, it might not come as such a shock that the Bison were able to win three straight 1-0 games against the state’s best competition.

Buffalo junior Chelsey Parkins was selected as captain of the all-state team by the West Virginia Sports Writers Association, and is joined on the 18-player list by teammates Ali Burdette and Katie Higginbotham.

Higginbotham, a junior, was named as an outfielder while Parkins and Burdette — a sophomore who went 2-0 in the state tournament — claimed two of the five pitchers’ spots, a rarity for one school.

Burdette finished the season 16-2 with 162 strikeouts in 112 innings. She had a 0.86 ERA. Parkins was 15-1 with 161 strikeouts in 104 innings, and posted a 0.84 ERA. Parkins led the team in hitting with a .523 average, 17 doubles and 50 RBI.

Burdette hit .486 with six home runs, 15 doubles and 44 RBI. Buffalo won 23 games by shutout and held 32 of 38 opponents to two or fewer runs in compiling a 34-4 record, making the placement of Burdette and Parkins easy to understand, although each played shortstop while not pitching.

“It was very important to keep other teams from scoring this year,” Parkins said. “I was mainly focusing on hitting my spots, and I knew I had a defense behind me to back me up.”

Parkins said the importance of defense became heightened during the state tournament. Although she, Burdette and Higginbotham each entered the tournament with batting averages around the .500 mark, run production became a challenge.

“We were definitely not hitting the ball like we had been during the season. We showed it only takes one run to win,” she said.

Higginbotham said the ability of Parkins and Burdette to keep runs off the board made the young Bison hitters relax. The team had no senior starters.

“Offensively, it pumps us up,” Higginbotham said. “It calms our nerves and me, personally, I feel more confidence in the box. I focus better because I’m not as nervous.

“Our defense in the title game was phenomenal. The whole tournament it was sound. It won those ball games,” she said.

While her stats and Parkins’ were similar, Burdette said that had  more to do with the pitchers’ supporting cast.

“I think it’s important to have a good defense behind the pitcher to take some of the pressure off of them,” Burdette said. “That’s what our defense did at the state tournament.”

Only one Class A program has won more than three Class A titles in a row.

Wheeling Central won seven straight from 1995-2001, a string that began just one year after the sport was broken into three competitive classes.

The Maroon Knights were again part of the state tournament as the Region 1 champion in 2013, falling in the loser’s bracket final. Senior Sarah Henry was named to the all-state team as a pitcher while sophomore Sydney Barrington (.457, 4 HR, 24 RBI) was named as an infielder.

Moorefield, which lost to Buffalo in the state title game for the second year in a row, also had two players named to the team. Junior Danica Rogers was the Yellow Jackets’ ace and thus named as a pitcher. Junior Beth Cook hit .644 with 9 HR, 14 doubles and 37 RBI and was named as an infielder.

Pitching statistics for Central’s Henry and Moorefield’s Rogers were not provided by their coaches. Numbers were also not provided for the Man High School duo of senior pitcher Taylor Tomblin and senior catcher Summer Sword, though both earned all-state spots based on their success throughout the course of the year as well as support given to the players by writers and opposing coaches.

Doddridge County senior Ashlie LaFalce returned to the all-state team as a catcher, hitting .448 with 5 HR and 29 RBI.

The remainder of the infield was made up of St. Marys senior Abbi Fetty (.564), Doddridge County junior Lacy Perkins (.420, 13 doubles, 22 RBI) and Sherman senior Mackenzie Smith (.410, 10 HR, 36 RBI).

Higginbotham became a two-time selection in the outfield after hitting .462 with 31 stolen bases. She was joined in the all-state outfield by Wirt County senior Emily Ohrm (.415, 4 HR, 7 3B, 20 RBI) and St. Marys sophomore Mikaela Britton (.592, 8 2B).

South Harrison senior Jessica Puddister became a four-time selection — she made the team as a freshman when the Hawks won their only state title in 2010 — after hitting .463 with 20 RBI and striking out 95 batters. Puddister was named as a utility player.

Also named at utility were Magnolia junior Mallory Chapman (.563, 5 HR and 165 strikeouts as a pitcher) and Gilmer County junior Julie Bishop (.459, 34 RBI, 12-4 with 71 K).

Text Only
Latest Sports
  • 041814 Sisler Diamond Classic continues today

    Fayetteville pitcher Kaitlyn Sisler pitched five innings of shutout softball as the Pirates beat Oak Hill 10-0 Wednesday in the Diamond Classic in Fayetteville.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • D’Antoni’s Lakers future still unclear

    With the Los Angeles Lakers season officially over — the Lakers beat the Spurs 113-100 Wednesday but finished 27-55 overall, the most losses in the club’s history and the franchise’s worst winning percentage since the Minneapolis Lakers in 1957-58 — Marshall fans will be keeping a close eye on what’s going on in Tinsel Town over the coming days.

    April 17, 2014

  • Turnbull’s tenure dominates WVU wrestling history

    Did Oliver Luck really do a thorough job in deeply evaluating Craig Turnbull’s 36-year career as wrestling coach before firing him?

    April 17, 2014

  • WVU’s top football prospects working out for NFL teams

    As we draw ever closer to the NFL Draft, the prospect workouts for teams are picking up steam for former Mountaineers. Both running back Charles Sims and defensive end Will Clarke have a busy road ahead.

    April 17, 2014

  • 041814 james monroe Crusaders make history in loss to James Monroe

    The first season for Greater Beckley Christian’s baseball team has been met with growing pains — to say the least.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • 041714 millard Kickoff time set for WVU-Alabama

    West Virginia football fans can now start counting down to the exact minute, instead of just the day.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Questions raised about Turnbull’s firing

    Dr. Stephen Graber, an associate professor at the West Virginia University School of Medicine, is among the latest WVU teachers to deplore Oliver Luck’s firing of veteran wrestling coach Craig Turnbull.

    April 17, 2014

  • Gettin’ ready for gobbler season: Step 4 — the setup

    This just in — in a recent study on turkey hunting and turkey hunters it was found that 98.7 percent of the time when hunters were unsuccessful when calling in a gobbler, the hunter made some mistake during the last 50 yards of the bird’s approach.

    April 17, 2014

  • 041714 wright Former Red Devil star realizing dream of playing D-I basketball

    When former Oak Hill High School standout Kalif Wright was a kid, he would play EA Sports’ NCAA March Madness video games and dream of one day getting a chance to play in the NCAA Tournament.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • McClung moving from mound to dugout

    Seth McClung was getting his daughters Madison and Fallon inside and ready for their baths when his phone rang. He’s said before that he enjoys the role of “daddy day care.”

    April 15, 2014