It was the kind of game that would have made Bea Orr proud.
Orr, the longtime Logan County educator who brought girls’ softball to Logan County in 1973 and passed away on Sunday, was remembered by softball fans who attended Wednesday’s Logan-Man game at the Logan Softball Complex.
And what a game it was.
It was, as one fan put it, typical Logan County softball.
The host Lady Cats eventually were able to overtake the Man Lady Billies to win 5-3 in a game which featured top level high school softball skills, fine defensive grabs, bang-bang plays on the base paths and plenty of hard, stinging base hits.
Just by watching the game you could see why Logan County girls’ softball has always been so good.
In more than 30 years of WVSSAC-sanctioned softball, Logan County’s three high schools — Logan, Man and Chapmanville — have brought home 12 state championships.
The road to Vienna continued with Wednesday night’s game.
It was a much needed victory for Logan, which has struggled some this season and is still trying to find its groove. LHS has had to replace a talented bunch of seniors which led the Lady Cats to a 112-23 record the last four seasons, including four straight trips to the state tournament.
Logan improved to 6-7 with the win.
Man, looking to make some noise in the Class A post-season in the coming weeks, dropped to 8-2.
All in all, it was a good night of softball for both teams.
“It was a nice win and there were a lot of bang-bang plays,” Logan coach Randy Robinette said. “There was a lot of action and it was a typical Logan County softball game. Man’s a great team and they made some unbelievable plays. They hit the ball well. I was impressed with what we did tonight. We hit the ball and we made some good defensive plays.”
Freshman Hana Sedlock was the starting and winning pitcher for the Lady Cats. She went 4.2 innings and allowed two runs and three hits with two walks and six strikeouts. Shana Hall then came in to get the save as she hurled 2.1 innings, giving up one run and three hits with three strikeouts and no walks. Taylor Tomblin took the loss on the hill for Man as she pitched six innings, yielding five runs and 11 hits with two strikeouts and only one walk.
“Sedlock went four good innings for us,” Robinette said. “Shana came in in relief and shut the door. We did a real good job and I’m real proud of our team tonight.”
Logan’s bottom three hitters in the order — Hannah Kolovich, Chastidy Wiley and Antonia Hill — led the team as the three were a combined 7-for-8 at the plate.
Kolovich, Logan’s starting right fielder, was 2-for-3, while catcher Wiley was 3-for-3 with a double and three RBI. Nine hole batter Hill, Logan’s first baseman, was 2-for-2 with an RBI and a sacrifice bunt.
“Wow,” Robinette said. “They have struggled all year. We’re tickled to see those kids hit the ball. I’m really proud of the way those three played tonight.”
Sedlock added an RBI single for Logan. Summer Collins had a double, while Shelby Hale and Hall also singled.
Madison Keffer led Man’s six-hit attack as the first baseman was 2-for-3 with a double and a run knocked in. Tombin had an RBI single. Summer Sword, Emilee Osborne and Casey Albright each had a single.
Tied 2-2, the Lady Cats scored a run in the bottom of the fourth and two more in the fifth for breathing room. Man plated one in the top of the sixth but it wasn’t enough.
“It was a good game and we’re not upset about it,” said Man assistant coach Billy Jack Dickerson who has been stepping in of late for head coach Randy Epperly who has been feeling ill. “We hit the ball well and we made some good defensive plays. But we made a few base running mistakes that cost us. This was a one-hit game. If we pick up a hit here with runners in scoring position and this was a tie game we would have been ahead. Logan’s got a good team and I think that we’ve got a good team. It’s always a good contest between our two schools. We like the rivalry and I think they do as well.”
Man plays a very difficult schedule for a Class A school and Dickerson said the competition against 3A teams like Logan will only help the Lady Billies in their post-season drive for Vienna.
“We want to play good competition and that only helps us,” Dickerson said. “The stronger pitchers we face and the stronger hitters we face will help us. As most coaches will tell you everything that we’re doing now is pretty much like a practice up until sectional tournament time. This was a good practice session for us. Anytime you can play against a quality ball club like Logan then you can take that as a good day.”
Logan went ahead 3-2 in the fourth as Kolovich singled and scored all the way from first after Wiley’s RBI double to the center field fence. Kolovich slid in safely at home as Man catcher Sword tried to block home plate. It was one of many close plays on the night.
Then in the fifth, Logan tacked on two more to take a 5-2 lead on Man. The first run came home on Sedlock’s RBI single to center. Wiley then drove in the other run with an infield, RBI single. Logan tried to score again as Hill singled with runners at first and second but Kolovich was gunned down at the plate.
The Lady Billies trimmed the deficit to 5-3 in the top of the sixth as Albright had a bloop single, took third on a wild pitch and scored on a Logan error.
Man led 1-0 in the first with an RBI single to right by Tomblin which scored Cari Blair who reached base on a throwing error.
Logan made it 2-1 in the second with back-to-back RBI singles by Wiley and Hill.
Man tied it 2-2 in the third with Keffer’s RBI bases loaded fielder’s choice play to shortstop.
Two outstanding defensive plays were made in the game.
Logan left fielder Aarron Ward ranged far to her left to make a running catch on Micayla Gibson’s fly ball in the fourth inning.
Man centerfielder Osborne had the gem of the game as she raced far and fast to her right to rob Logan’s Ward of at least a double, and possibly a triple.
“That’s why she plays center field,” Dickerson said of Osborne’s stab. “She can go get them and that’s why she’s been there since the ninth grade. She’s a senior and we’ll sure have a tough time replacing her next year. That was a heck of a play.”
Robinette talked some about Orr after the game and her contributions to getting Logan County softball on the map in the 1970s where it has remained ever since.
Only a year after Title IX, Orr got girls’ softball going with a pilot Miss Softball America program in Logan.
“She started the Miss Softball America program here and that’s the way that I got started,” Robinette said. “I got started here in softball as an umpire. Then I got started in Chapmanville in coaching an MSA team down there. That’s how I got started in 1979. If she had never had brought the MSA program here we probably would have never have had what we have now. When she brought MSA here we had a jump start on just about everyone else. That’s why in the early years, particularly, we were so successful.”
Man and Logan are scheduled to see action this weekend in the annual Best of the Best Tournament at Buffalo.
The Lady Billies were set to take on Sherman and Richwood on Thursday in the tourney. Then on Friday, Man has a home game with Cross Lanes Christian set for 5:30 p.m. Man then returns to Buffalo on Saturday for an 11 a.m. contest against St. Marys in the Best of the Best.
Logan was slated to host Scott on Thursday night before heading to Buffalo to take on University and Shady Spring on Friday at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. in tourney action. Logan squares off with Buffalo on Saturday at 1 p.m.