The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

June 5, 2014

Westside’s Blankenship, Mavericks’ Shiflett among Class AA all-staters

By Grant Traylor
The Herald-Dispatch

HUNTINGTON — Exactly how high were the emotions for Herbert Hoover pitcher Allison Rager following her team's first Class AA state championship?

When her little brother Trevor ran up to her and gave her a hug following the 12-6 win over Ritchie County, Trevor started sobbing on her shoulder, which prompted Rager to plead with him to calm down so she wouldn't end up in tears as well.

However, Rager herself couldn't hide the emotions as she spoke following the win - and with good reason.

Rager completed one of the more impressive all-around seasons in recent memory to lead the Huskies to the title.

The junior led Herbert Hoover at the plate with a .500 average while contributing 10 home runs, 54 runs batted in and 20 doubles - three of which came in the championship game, including a two-run double while she was being intentionally walked that gave the Huskies the lead for good.

In the circle, she was just as dominant, finishing with a 24-5 record and a 0.95 earned run average while striking out 178 in 161.2 innings of work against Region IV competition, which included three of the top five teams in Class AA.

Still, when Rager spoke about the championship season, it was about community and her team - never once about herself.

“It really means a lot because we've had teams in the past that could do it,” Rager said. “Winning this year was for our team and all those teams in the past that have made us work so hard to get to this point.”

Those numbers and that team-first demeanor led Rager to being named the captain of the Class AA All-State Team, as voted on by the West Virginia Sports Writers Association.

The Huskies placed three players on the Class AA First Team. Rager was joined by senior teammates McKenzie Edmonds, who was chosen as one of five infielders, and MiKayla Craze, who was one of three outfielders chosen to the team.

Liberty-Harrison also placed three players on the team with senior infielder Alyssa Jones, senior outfielder Presley Lamm and junior catcher Kaylee Ritter.

Ritchie County, whom Herbert Hoover defeated in the Class AA title game, was one of four teams to place two selections on the first team. The Rebels were represented by sophomore pitcher Kenna Delancey and junior infielder Vanessa Tallman.

Wayne, who had won the previous two state championships before falling to Rager and Herbert Hoover 1-0 in the regional final, also had a pair of selections with senior pitcher Jessie Rowe and senior outfielder Emily Fry.

Petersburg senior pitcher Marley Thompson and senior infielder Brittani Bible represented two of eight first-team returnees from 2013 on the talented Class AA squad.

Sissonville sophomore Alexee Haynes, also a returnee, was joined by teammate Katelyn Linville, who made the team as a catcher.

James Monroe junior Laine Shiflett was another of the eight first-team returnees on the infield while Westside junior Cassie Blankenship completed out the first-team pitching staff.

Ravenswood junior Savana Casto and East Fairmont senior Tori Postlewait were a pair of utility selections to round out the first-team.

Wayne junior infielder Kasey Endicott was named captain of the second team and was joined by fellow junior teammates Savannah Perry (outfield) and Jacey Parsons (utility).

Second-team pitchers included Roane County senior Casey Lassiter and four juniors - Ritchie County's Moie Ray, Scott's Ally Brown, Bridgeport's Danielle Dennison and Nicholas County's Whitney Robinson.

In addition to Endicott, second-team infielders include three seniors - Herbert Hoover's Ashleigh Tignor, Ravenswood's Katie Buckbee and Roane County's Cassidy Taylor — and Berkeley Springs sophomore Ashley Campbell.

Outfielders were Braxton County's Jessica Ellis, James Monroe sophomore Megan Bailey and Perry.

Utility players included Poca sophomore Tori Ward, Westside sophomore Christian Price and Parsons while the second-team catchers were Ritchie County senior Abby Burgess and Westside senior Leah Pack.