The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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High School Sports

May 29, 2014

Westside eliminated

Sixth-inning struggles doom Lady Renegades on first day of state softball tournament play

GARDNER — If high school softball games lasted just five innings, Westside would be undefeated at the state tournament.

Games are seven innings, however, and the sixth proved fatal twice to the Lady Renegades Wednesday at Jackson Park in Vienna.

Westside went into the sixth leading tournament co-favorite Ritchie County (26-5) 1-0, only to surrender three unearned runs and lose 3-1.

Herbert Hoover (30-6), the other co-favorite, downed Petersburg 8-2 in the other first-round game, sending the Vikings into an elimination game with Westside.

The Lady Renegades quickly charged into the lead, scoring two runs in the bottom of the first inning.

Once again, the roof collapsed in the sixth, as Petersburg ignited for four unearned runs.

“The sixth inning was a curse on us,” coach Sarah Patrick said. “It’s disappointing that the thing that got us here (defense) was what hurt us today.”

Westside concluded its season with a 16-4 record. It was the school’s first-ever appearance in the state tournament.

Petersburg (24-6) stayed alive to meet the loser of the Ritchie County-Herbert Hoover semifinal, which was halted by rain in the second inning with Hoover up 2-0.

Senior catcher Leah Pack knocked in Stephanie Brown for a 1-0 lead in the fourth inning against Ritchie County.

The Lady Rebels answered in the sixth, keyed by two Westside errors and a double by winning pitcher Kenna Delancey.

“There were a couple of routine plays we didn’t handle,” Patrick said.

A squeeze bunt by Abby Burgess scored Delancey with the third run.

The game ended when the Lady Renegades’ Carli Bryant was thrown out trying to score from third on a wild pitch.

Westside pitcher Cassie Blankenship went all seven innings, giving up three runs (one earned) and just three hits. She struck out nine and did not walk a batter.

Ritchie’s Moie Ray and Delancey gave up a combined six hits. Both struck out six and neither issued a walk.

Blankenship and Pack both had RBI-singles in the first inning, scoring Kelsey Walls and Courtney Morgan, to push Westside out on Petersburg in the first inning.

The game was delayed by lightning in the second inning, and Westside did not score again. Brittany Bible and Leah Hahn both had two-run singles in the fourth, assisted by more Lady Renegade errors, to turn the tables.

“The first game we were nervous, but I thought we were settled down. That 30-minute lightning delay swung the momentum,” Pack said.

Winning pitcher Cassidy Hedrick gave up five hits and two earned runs. She walked two and struck out four.

Blankenship gave up four hits and four unearned runs. She fanned seven Lady Vikings and walked two.

“I really thought we should have beaten both teams today,” Patrick said. “I’m still proud. We had a wonderful season.

“We’ll lose four seniors, but I think we’ll have another shot to get back down here. They now know what it’s like.

“I’m happy we were here. There’s 40 other teams sitting at home.”

— E-mail: dstillwell

— Jim Butta of the News and Sentinel contributed

to this story

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