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
  • Passions are high for the Big Four

    When it comes to the English Premier League, there are clubs and there are kings. 

     

    July 31, 2014

  • YMCA fall soccer registration underway
    Fall is just around the corner and registration is now open for youth soccer at the YMCA of Southern West Virginia.
     

    July 31, 2014

  • Steelers to retire Hall of Famer Greene's No. 75

    The Pittsburgh Steelers are retiring Hall of Fame defensive end Joe Greene's number No. 75.

    July 30, 2014

  • Steelers' Bell looking for more decisive, productive season

    Le'Veon Bell kept watching the tape over and over, equal parts pleased and puzzled by what he saw.

    July 30, 2014

  • Charges dropped against WVU RB Smallwood

    Prosecutors said all charges against 20-year-old Wendell Smallwood, who had been charged with witness tampering in the case, have been dropped.

    July 30, 2014

  • cato Word is out on Marshall's Cato

    Rakeem Cato is easily the face of Marshall football. He also has been mentioned as a darkhorse candidate for the Heisman Trophy. That status is legitimate.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • bush Bush making Saints look good

    For his first four seasons, Rafael Bush was simply looking to land on a roster — any roster.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Practice, not temps, heats up for Saints
    The temperatures may have only been in the low 70s Tuesday afternoon at the Saints new practice facility at The Greenbrier, but now a third of the way into the 15 practices, it’s clear that the heat has turned up with playing time and positions on the line.

    July 30, 2014

  • Bowles has a support system
    Colin Bowles, the 14-year-old little brother of Corey, is coming into his own as a successful athlete. The younger Bowles competed last week at the U.S. Junior Amateur in The Woodlands, Texas, making the cut before bowing out in match play. Right there beside Colin, as he has been his entire life, was older brother Corey,

    July 30, 2014

  • Terre Haute hands Miners 2-1 loss in 11 innings

    Ryan Sabo singled home Clayton Smithson in the bottom of the 11th inning to lift the Rex to the win and put the West Virginia Miners’ postseason hopes in serious jeopardy

    July 30, 2014

Saints Training Camp