The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

High School Sports

April 22, 2013

Weather has taken its toll in area softball

BECKLEY — It’s not been the greatest season for area high school softball.

Many teams are young and inexperienced, and intermittent practice and play days because of the often cold and wet weather have played havoc.

Practicing inside doesn’t help a lot.

“There’s only so much you can do in the gym,” Liberty coach Mark Workman said. “You try to protect the gyms by using a totally different ball than what you use outside, and you can develop some bad habits. We suffer in the field because of it.”

Some teams are thriving. James Monroe is 17-2, while three teams have 11 wins — Shady Spring (11-2), Greenbrier East (11-9) and Westside (11-5). Valley is 9-2.

But others, such as strong programs like Liberty (5-9), Independence (3-6), Nicholas County (6-11) and PikeView (8-9) have struggled. Richwood is 9-15, Summers County is 8-12 and Fayetteville is 7-9.

Other records aren’t known because the teams have neglected to report their games to The Register-Herald or the WVSSAC.

Time for improvement is almost gone: Sectionals begin next week.

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The best regular season game yet just might be Tuesday, when James Monroe travels to Shady Spring for a 5 p.m. matchup.

Shady, ranked No. 8 in Class AAA, is one of the few veteran teams around. The Tigers feature first-team all-state pitcher Katie Snodgress, who is 8-2 after defeating Parkersburg 9-0 Saturday.

Second-team all-stater Michelle Snodgress has been invaluable as Shady’s No. 2 pitcher, and she’s an excellent hitter, second baseman and outfielder as well. Third baseman MacKenzie Milam and left fielder-second baseman Sierra Richmond have been pounding the ball, and MacKenzie Severt has become one of the better catchers around.

James Monroe answers with its own standout pitcher, Mikayla Wickline, who owns most of the Mavericks wins and is unflappable on the mound.

Most of their other players are young, including three freshman infielders. But they play strong defense, and sophomore third baseman Laine Shiflet is hitting the cover off the softball.

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

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