VIENNA — When the Chapmanville Lady Tigers make it to the state softball tournament they win.
They usually win it all.
Chapmanville Regional High School goes into this week’s state tourney in a good position to bring home another Class AA state championship.
Chapmanville (29-5), which defeated defending state champion Sissonville, 6-3, last week in the Region 4 finals to advance, are scheduled to open state tourney play on Wednesday against Region 1 champion Oak Glen (14-12), which moved on with last Thursday night’s 7-0 victory over Bridgeport.
Game time is set for 10 a.m. at Jackson Memorial Park in Vienna.
The other Class AA opening round game on Wednesday at noon has James Monroe (21-7) taking on Petersburg (29-4).
Chapmanville is searching for its sixth state championship in the last 18 years.
The Lady Tigers began their title run in 1999 with the school’s first-ever state crown. Chapmanville then won another championship in 2004 and took two more in 2007 and 2009 led by all-state pitcher Andi Williamson.
CRHS captured a second straight state title in 2010, led by senior twin sisters Jenna and Allison Evans.
The Lady Tigers’ last appearance at state was in 2011 when Chapmanville went 1-2 to bow out of the double-elimination tournament.
That was an anomaly, however.
Since Chapmanville’s run began in ‘99 the Lady Tigers are 16-3 in state tournament games — an 84.2 winning percentage.
In 1999, 2004, 2007 and 2009 Chapmanville swept through the competition with 3-0 records to take the state titles.
In 2010, Chapmanville won its first two state tourney games and had hoped to wrap it all up with a victory over Ritchie County but the Rebels won 4-0 to force a winner-take-all second championship game. CRHS then beat Ritchie 3-1 in Game 2 to take the title.
That year, all three Logan County teams were playing for state championships at the same time on three different side-by-side fields. Logan lost to St. Albans in the Class AAA title game, while Man fell to South Harrison in the Single-A final.
If you have ever been to the state tournament winning the first game is key.
Then if you win the second game that puts you automatically into the driver’s seat and into the championship round.
A split on the first day and that complicates matters.
That means you would have to play three games on the second day and win them all in order to win the state championships.
It doesn’t happen very often.
And with the WVSSAC’s 14-inning per day pitching rule if you have a pitching ace like Chapmanville’s Kenzie McCann that would mean that she could only pitch two seven-inning games a day.
CRHS 36th-year head coach Ronnie Ooten knows this well.
He has rode dominating pitchers like Whitney Dingess, Jenni McNeely, Jaci Collins, Andi Williamson, Brooke Carey and the Evans twins to past state crowns in championship years.
“Winning the first game is key, yes,” Ooten said. “We went up there one time and got into the loser’s bracket. If we drop into the loser’s bracket we’ll pitch Kenzie McCann. We’ll just wait and see what happens.”
The Lady Tigers hope McCann’s arm takes them all the way to the championship. She has been spectacular in the pitching circle this season as she is 26-5 with 219 strikeouts and just 36 issued walks in a 173-inning worksheet. She has 11 shutout wins, five no-hitters and three perfect games.
If Chapmanville somehow falls into the loser’s bracket and another pitcher is needed, Alli Harless, Jada Freeman and freshman Tabby Adkins are all available and can do the job.
Harless is 3-0 on the season and has fanned seven in 11.2 innings of work.
Freeman has seen some spot relief duty as well as Harless.
“We have the team to do it. I just hope we don’t go up there and be too big-headed because we beat the state champs,” Ooten said, referring to last week’s 6-3 regional win at Sissonville. “They have played their butts off all year and have been super. This is the team that can win it but now we have to go up there and do the job.”
CRHS first baseman Hollie Carter said the Lady Tigers are confident.
“I can see Ootie getting a little bit fired up if we lose,” Carter quipped as she smiled. “But I think that we have a good shot.”
Lady Tigers in the state
softball tourney since 1999 (16-3):
Liberty Raleigh 5, Chapmanville 4
Ritchie County 4, Chapmanville 1
Chapmanville 1, Braxton County 0
Chapmanville 3, Ritchie County 1 (state finals)
Ritchie County 4, Chapmanville 0 (championship round)
Chapmanville 12, Shady Spring 2
Chapmanville 3, Ritchie County 2
Chapmanville 2, Independence 0 (state finals)
Chapmanville 1, Point Pleasant 0
Chapmanville 5, Independence 0
Chapmanville 8, Ritchie County 5 (state finals)
Chapmanville 7, Shady Spring 1
Chapmanville 8, Ritchie County 1
Chapmanville 2, Shady Spring 1 (state finals)
Chapmanville 1, Shady Spring 0
Chapmanville 2, Ritchie County 0
Chapmanville 2, Independence 0 (state finals)
Chapmanville 1, Oak Glen 0
Chapmanville 10, Ritchie County 0
(Paul Adkins is the Sports Editor of the Logan Banner. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @PAdkinsBanner).