The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Latest Sports

May 5, 2013

Young Independence team shows its mettle in softball sectionals

Patriots to host Westside in Region 3 semifinals Thursday

BECKLEY — If ever there was a never-say-die team in the recent softball sectionals, it was Independence.

The Patriots rallied from a 6-0 deficit to defeat Liberty 9-7 in the Class AA Region 3, Section 1 semifinals, then came from three runs down in the seventh to again top the Raiders, 7-6 for the championship.

“It’s kind of weird. We give them a lead and then we come back,” coach Rick Lane said. “We’re a very, very young team.”

Lane, a coaching veteran in his first year at the Patriots’ helm, inherited a team with very little experience.

Pitcher Brooke Foley mainly played outfield last season, while shortstop Kelsey Hart was at second base. All three starting outfielders began this season as infielders.

It also didn’t help that Independence (6-11) got little quality practice time early because of the weather.

“This season has been an experiment with weather and youth,” Lane said. “It took me time to find where the pieces had to fall.”

He now starts three freshmen, two sophomores and three juniors.

 The sole seniors, Hart and first baseman Kayla Meadows, helped hold the team together.

“Without those two seniors, it would have been very different,” Lane said. “They were patient, but they’d tell the girls what needed to be said. They were outstanding to let everything develop as it did.”

On four occasions the Patriots lost by one run. Sometimes the Patriots had five players out sick. Another game, against regional rival James Monroe, four players missed the game.

Foley kept her composure on the mound in games where the Patriots’ inexperience in the field would show.

“Brooke was the only player I’d coached before (in volleyball as a freshman). It helped to know her,” Lane said. “She’s a true competitor. She’s intense and a natural talent.”

The remainder of the lineup includes junior Elizabeth Epling (right field), sophomores Courtney Haga (second base) and Taylor Parker (third base), and freshmen Katy Lilly (catcher), Jessie Lilly (left field) and Savannah McCormick (center field).

“They’re really high-keyed kids, except for my two seniors,” Lane said. “They were so emotional during games that it took me a while to figure out my voice had to be calm.

“Against Liberty, when we were down three in the seventh, I told them I needed them to be calm and hit the ball. I wanted was singles, and they did it.

“It’s encouraging. These girls can go as far as they want to go.”

The Patriots will host Section 2 champion Westside at 5 p.m. Thursday at Larry T. Poe Field.

— E-mail: dstillwell@register-herald.com

1
Text Only
Latest Sports
  • 042014 old white Happy birthday to The Old White

    As Greenbrier owner Jim Justice proudly stood behind the podium on the first tee box addressing a crowd at the 100th anniversary of the historic Old White TPC Course, a surprise guest emerged from the bushes by the tennis center.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 042014 bubba Watson becoming a West Virginian

    Greenbrier owner Jim Justice was glued to the television a week ago today, watching Bubba Watson try to chase down his second green jacket at Augusta National Golf Club.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 042014 spartans LOCAL ROUNDUP: Spartans win Spring Break Wooden Bat Classic

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • St. Joe’s Lewis named 2014 High School Coach of the Year

    Huntington St. Joseph girls basketball coach Shannon Lewis has made a habit of celebrating success in Charleston over the last few years.

    April 19, 2014

  • 041914 old white Old White to celebrate 100 years

    The home of The Greenbrier Classic will be having a birthday today, and the celebration should be something special.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mullens, Pineville to meet in Anderson Memorial

    After many years away from the sideline, legendary Mullens High School coach Don Nuckols is returning to the game of basketball.

    April 19, 2014

  • 041914 D'Antoni Lakers mum on D’Antoni

    Mike D’Antoni was still the Los Angeles Lakers’ coach when he left their training complex to spend the Easter weekend out of town with his family.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 041914 gibby WVU trying to find speed on defense

    Tony Gibson took over as West Virginia’s new defensive coordinator over the winter with the goal of trying not to do too much to rock the boat. As the fourth coach to hold that spot in as many years, the Van native — in his second stint as a Mountaineer assistant — knew that his players needed some stability.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 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