CHAPMANVILLE — The road to Vienna just got a little bit shorter for the Chapmanville Regional High School softball team.
The No. 1-ranked Lady Tigers wrapped up another Class AA sectional championship — their fourth straight — with Friday night’s 2-0 victory at home over rival Scott at the Chapmanville Regional High School Softball Complex, aka Ronnie Ooten Field.
The victory moved Chapmanville (24-5) into next week’s Class AA regional semifinals against Wayne (24-5), a team the Lady Tigers lost to twice this season by 1-0 and 3-2 scores. The game had originally been scheduled to be played this Thursday at 5:30 p.m. at Chapmanville but the game could be moved to Friday due to this week’s WESTEST and umpiring issues.
Chapmanville simply dominated the sectional tourney, outscoring its opponents 24-0. The Lady Tigers began on Wednesday with an easy 21-0 victory over Mingo Central, then advanced with Thursday night’s gut-wrenching 1-0 win over Scott.
The Lady Hawks played Chapmanville tough again on Friday night but the pitching of Allison Evans, clutch hitting and two rally-killing double plays by the Lady Tigers spelled doom for Scott.
Evans, who along with her twin sister Jenna, had recently signed on to play collegiate softball at the University of Charleston, fired a two-hit shutout with three strikeouts and two walks.
Chapmanville only had six hits in the game off Scott pitcher Ally Brown but made them count. Left fielder Brandi Broom led the attack as she was 2-for-3 with an RBI double in Chapmanville’s two-run third inning. Allison Evans got it started with an RBI single during the frame to get the Lady Tigers on the scoreboard.
The Lady Tigers turned two nifty double plays on Scott, which was trying to rally.
Both involved heads-up plays by Chapmanville outfielders.
The first one happened in the top of the fourth as the Lady Tigers led 2-0.
Scott’s Allyson Johnson led off with a double and the Lady Hawks were poised to strike.
Then after a fly out to center which moved Johnson to third, Scott was only 60 feet away from making it a one-run ballgame.
The Lady Hawks rolled the dice by having Katrina Conley squeeze bunt. Conley connected and bunted toward the mound. The pitcher Evans fielded and fired home, cutting down a sliding Johnson at the plate. Chapmanville catcher Alyssa Bailey then fired down to second base to get Conley, who was trying to grab an extra base, to complete the double play and to end the inning. Tagging out Conley at second was Chapmanville centerfielder Hanna Wooten, who covered the bag.
Then in the fifth, it was another bang-bang double play.
Scott’s Sami Jo Duffey had walked and Jennifer Miller followed with a bunt in an attempt to move the runner in scoring position. Evans fielded the bunt and got out Miller at first. Chapmanville first baseman Heather Nagy then fired across the diamond to left fielder Brandi Broom, who was covering third, to get out a sliding Duffey for a double play to end the inning. Lady Tigers’ third baseman Savanna Vance was unable to cover as she had charged the bunt.
“What can you say? When have you seen two double plays like that in a softball game?” Chapmanville coach Ronnie Ooten said. “We tell our outfielders to come in and cover. Brandi came over from left field on one and Hanna covered on the other. That’s the way that you’ve got to do it.”
Chapmanville went 5-0 this season against Scott, including the two sectional tourney wins.
The Lady Hawks finished the season at a disappointing 13-18. Scott last won a 2A sectional crown in 2008.
“It’s sad and I’ve said it for years and years that we beat each other to death in this sectional,” Ooten said. “Then you have to turn around and play Wayne. They’ve beat us twice this year by one run each time.”
Ooten praised his four seniors — Allison and Jenna Evans, Nagy and Bailey — for what they have done for the program over the years.
“We’re going to lose four fantastic seniors,” Ooten said. “Heather Nagy is as good a first baseman as I’ve ever coached. Beetle (Bailey) back here doesn’t look the part. She doesn’t have the killer arm but when she needs to she throws well. You can’t say enough about the twins.”
Talya Berry added a single for Chapmanville, while Bailey and sophomore second baseman Lauryn Easterling doubled.
Easterling started it off for the Lady Tigers in the two-run third with a double to the center field fence. She came home on Allison Evans’ single to make it 1-0. Broom then ripped an RBI double to center to make it 2-0.
Bailey had a one-out double in the sixth but Scott was able to turn a 5-3,-3-5 double play to end the frame.
Johnson led off with a single in the seventh but she was forced out. Evans then got Conley to ground out to second and Sara Browning to fly out to center to end the game.
“We put so much heart in this game,” Allison Evans said. “My teammates have my back and I trust them. We wanted to get another shot at Wayne and have another shot at the state tournament.”
Chapmanville now shifts focus to the Wayne Pioneers next week. The winner moves on to play in the Class AA regional championship game on May 17.
The state softball tournament is set for May 23-24 at Vienna.
The Lady Tigers, winners of back-to-back state titles in 2009 and 2010, were denied a 3-peat last year as Chapmanville finished 1-2 in the state tournament.
* Allison Evans was leading the Lady Tigers in hitting heading into Friday night’s game. She was batting .424 with one home run and 39 hits in 92 official trips to the plate. On the mound, she is now 15-2 after Friday’s win.
Jenna Evans sports a .395 batting average as she is 34-for-86. Within the circle, she is 7-2 with one save.
Savanna Vance has a .393 average with 33 total hits, while Brandi Broom is right behind with a .372 batting average, one homer and 35 base hits.
Heather Nagy is hitting at a .357 clip with 30 hits.
Talya Berry has one homer and is batting .350. On the hill, she is 2-2 as a pitcher.
Alyssa Bailey (.309) and Hanna Wooten (.260) are also having fine seasons.