CHAPMANVILLE — The Scott High School softball team felt they let one slip away last season as the Lady Hawks squandered a late lead on Chapmanville Regional and lost in nine innings to the Lady Tigers in the sectional championship game.
They didn’t want it to happen again this year.
Scott took care of the Lady Tigers in two.
The Lady Hawks secured the Class AA sectional championship for the first time in six years by knocking off homestanding Chapmanville, 3-1, on Wednesday night at Chapmanville’s Ronnie Ooten Field.
Scott (14-12) won the best-of-three sectional championship series two games to none and advanced to play in the May 15 regional semifinals at two-time defending Class AA state champion Wayne.
For the young Chapmanville team, the season came to a close at 14-13.
The Lady Tigers had won the sectional championship five years in a row over Scott. Last year, Chapmanville rallied to beat Scott 6-5 in extra innings in the decisive Game 3 at Madison.
This year, there would be no magic.
Scott had opened the sectional tourney with Tuesday’s 6-3 win over Chapmanville in Game 1 and was in the driver’s seat heading into Wednesday’s second game.
The Lady Hawks took care of business and won their first sectional title since 2008 when they upset then defending state champion Chapmanville, 8-6 in the finals which was played at Logan. Back then, it was a three-team sectional with Chapmanville, Scott and Logan, which competed as a Double-A school from 2003-08.
In Wednesday night’s game, Scott spotted Chapmanville a 1-0 lead after two innings but plated three runs in the home half of the third.
The lead held and the Lady Hawks punched their ticket to the regional tournament. Wayne has defeated Scott twice already this season and downed Chapmanville in the 2012 and 2013 regional tourney en route to the two state championships.
Ally Brown pitched the complete game win for Scott as she fired seven innings and allowed one run and four hits with 10 strikeouts and no walks.
Cydnee Lambert was the tough luck loser on the hill for the Lady Tigers. She gave up three runs — all unearned — on five hits with five strikeouts, three hit batters and two issued walks.
Scott coach D.A. Harless said it was good to finally get over the sectional hump.
“Absolutely,” Harless said. “With Chapmanville and Scott the records do not matter. It’s the mission every year (to win the sectional title). Last year was a special season and we talked a lot about last year but this is this year. Ally Brown on the mound has done a great job for us and we played great defense. We were also smart at the plate. Now, it’s on to Wayne and that’s always a tough trip. It’s never easy.”
Chapmanville coach Ronnie Ooten said errors plagued his team in the sectional tourney. Out of Scott’s eight total runs in two games seven were unearned.
“Yeah, but they (Scott) deserved it. They battled and came over here to win and we didn’t,” said Ooten, who has coached Chapmanville’s softball team to five state championships since taking the helm in 1981.
The cards seemed to be stacked against Chapmanville again this season.
The Lady Tigers lost both of its top two pitchers from last year’s 15-17 team and some other top starters were lost to graduation and had youth up and down the lineup. Only one senior — first baseman Lauryn Easterling — was on the roster.
“I knew that we were going to struggle this year,” Ooten said. “We knew it. We only had one senior and we had some starters back but we had so many young kids in key positions. We had a freshman up to bat at an awful time and she was scared to death and looked at a called third strike, but that’s part of it. The kids played hard. Faith Bell, our freshman pitcher, did well this year but she just wasn’t really ready to pitch at this level. She’s got to work hard and she will.”
Ooten, in his 34th season as the Lady Tigers’ coach, said he will be back and so will his Lady Tigers, in 2015.
“I’m going to be back if the good Lord doesn’t take me out of here,” he said.
The Lady Tigers were held to only four hits in the game — an RBI double by catcher Savannah Wiley and singles by Shian Meeks, Easterling, and third baseman Samarah Hurst. Meeks was a bright spot at shortstop this season for the Lady Tigers and reached yard four times at the plate this spring.
Scott had six hits, led by third baseman Mallory Stevenson, who had a single and an RBI. Kaila Craddock, Brown, Cassidy Allen and Claudia Nelson all had singles. Sydney Dangott also had an RBI.
Chapmanville grabbed a 1-0 lead on Scott in the top of the second with no outs as Easterling led off with a single and scored from first on Wiley’s RBI double. The Lady Tigers could only muster two more hits off Brown over the last six complete innings.
Scott came back big time in the third as Craddock led off with a single and took second on a Chapmanville error. She then scored on a Dangott fielder’s choice to tie it up.
Later in the inning, DP Chasity Ball walked an her courtesy runner Brooke Belcher scored on a wild pitch to make it 2-1. Stevenson then followed with an RBI single to left to make it a 3-1 ballgame.
That’s the way the game stayed.
The Lady Hawks threatened in the fifth as Brown singled and her courtesy runner eventually took second on a sac bunt by Sami Jo Duffy and then third on a ground out to third by Ball. Lambert then got out of the fix as Stevenson popped out to Meeks at short.
After the first inning, Chapmanville didn’t have a runner make it past first base.
2014 Chapmanville Regional
High School Softball Schedule (14-13):
March 21: Tolsia, W 12-0
March 24: at Sissonville, L 1-7
March 27: Mingo Central, W 12-2
March 28: Herbert Hoover, L 6-11
March 31: Man, W 7-6
April 1: at Mingo Central, W 28-0
April 4: James Monroe (Lady Tigers Invitational), L 2-11
April 5: Pikeview (Lady Tigers Invitational), W 3-2
April 5: Richwood (Lady Tigers Invitational), W 12-0
April 7: at Wayne, L 2-10
April 8: Scott, L 1-4
April 10: Poca, W 4-3
April 11: Sherman, W 11-0
April 14: Lincoln County, L 0-17
April 16: Wayne, L 2-10
April 17: vs. St. Marys at Best of the Best Tournament at Buffalo, W 8-1
April 17: vs. Richwood at Best of the Best Tournament at Buffalo, W 10-0
April 19: vs. Nicholas County at Best of the Best Tournament at Buffalo, W 3-2
April 19: vs. Buffalo at Best of the Best Tournament at Buffalo, L 0-2
April 21: at Man, W 6-2
April 22: Sissonville, W 7-2
April 23: Logan, L 0-9
April 24: at Herbert Hoover, L 0-10
May 1: at Lincoln County, L 0-6
May 2: at Logan, L 3-8
May 3: at Tolsia, W 23-0
May 6: Scott (Class AA sectionals), L 3-5
May 7: Scott (Class AA sectionals), L 1-3