CHAPMANVILLE — Both Ronnie Ooten and Randy Robinette knew they would have a bit of rebuilding to do when late March rolled around for another season of high school softball.
With such standouts as Morgan Aguirre, Taylor Norman, Katie Chrysoffos, Lara Sedlock, the Evans twins, Heather Nagy and Alyssa Bailey lost to graduation and another Chapmanville starter — Savannah Vance gone to the season due to a knee injury — both coaches knew there would be some tough shoes to fill in the lineup.
But when the youthful Lady Cats and Lady Tigers took to the diamond in Tuesday night’s makeup game at Chapmanville no one thought the two teams would meet each other with losing records.
It’s been a roller coaster ride for both county teams.
Full of ups and downs and heartache.
Logan has shown some signs of improvement lately.
The Lady Cats were 3-2 last weekend at Buffalo’s prestigious Best of the Best Tournament. The week before, Logan knocked off top five Class AAA team Lincoln County in eight innings at the Chapmanville tournament.
The Lady Cats, though, came to Chapmanville with a 9-10 record.
Still a game below .500.
Chapmanville has struggled of late and entered the game with a very un-Chapmanville like 7-12 record.
The Lady Tigers had a 1-2 showing at the Best of the Best and are just 1-7 in their last eight games.
But in the beauty of the WVSSAC’s softball format both Logan and Chapmanville will be 0-0 in a couple of weeks when sectional tournament play begins.
All the regular season games are “tune-ups,” if you will, as both squads are preparing themselves for the sectional battles that are to come.
So on Tuesday night, Logan traveled down the road to Chapmanville’s Ronnie Ooten Field for another clash between the two county rivals which have combined to win nine state championships.
Bragging rights wasn’t the only thing on the line.
Logan was trying to get back to the .500 psychological barrier.
Chapmanville was just trying to get out of its April funk.
In the end it was Chapmanville which came away with a 6-4 victory over the Lady Cats. The Lady Tigers improved to 8-12, while Logan dropped to 9-11.
Talya Berry battled some wildness to notch the complete game victory as she fired seven innings and allowed four runs and four hits with seven strikeouts and four walks.
Shana Hall was tagged with the loss for the Lady Cats. She pitched 3.2 innings and yielded five runs and seven hits with three strikeouts, three walks and a hit batter before getting pulled in the fourth inning. Freshman Hana Sedlock closed out the final 2.1 innings for Logan as she gave up one run and one hit with two walks.
Catcher Hanna Wooten led Chapmanville’s bats as she was 2-for-3 with an RBI.
Aarron Ward led the Lady Cats as the leadoff batter was 2-for-3 with an RBI triple.
The Lady Tigers outhit Logan 8-4.
Logan led 2-0 until the fourth when Chapmanville exploded for five runs to take a 5-2 lead.
The Lady Cats cut it to 5-4 by plating single runs in the top of the fifth and sixth innings.
Chapmanville then added an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth and Berry held off the Lady Cats in the seventh to ice the win.
“Just like I told the kids it doesn’t matter who is up and who is down when you beat Logan you have done something great,” said Chapmanville coach Ronnie Ooten, who is in his 33rd year at the helm and a Logan High School graduate. “I’ll take a win over Logan any time. We played pretty decent but we’re still making some mistakes. We have a lot of young kids this season in a lot of key positions and that makes it hard.”
Berry was able to get some run support from Chapmanville’s offense which has been silent of late.
“She’s done real well for us the last couple of games,” Ooten said. “She’s pitched hurt and she’s pitched sick. Emma Paris my backup pitcher got hurt yesterday at Wayne and she’ll be out a couple of days. That’s killing us. I told Talya that she had to pitch. We might have gone with Brandi Broom but she’s only thrown part of one game this year. All in all, I’m proud of them for getting this win.”
The Lady Tigers began their rally in the fourth, sending nine batters to the plate and scoring five times to make it 5-2.
Berry got it started with a single to left field. Her courtesy runner, Addy Lucas, then scored after Cyndee Lambert’s single which got past the Logan left fielder for an error.
Chapmanville then tied it 2-2 with an RBI infield single by Shian Meeks.
First baseman Lauryn Easterling then put the Lady Tigers on top for good as she laced a two-run single to center to make it 4-2 Lady Tigers. Wooten followed with an RBI single to center to increase the lead to 5-2.
Logan came back with a run in the top of the fifth as Hannah Kolovich walked and motored all the way home from first after Ward’s RBI triple which bounced to the center field fence as the Lady Cats trimmed the margin to 5-3.
Berry was able to battle back and get out of the jam by getting Shelby Hale to pop out to first and then getting Rachelle Toppings to ground out to Hope Kirk at second.
Logan then made it a 5-4 ballgame in the sixth as Summer Collins doubled to center and later scored on a Berry wild pitch.
Chapmanville tacked on a much needed insurance run in the bottom of the sixth inning as Brandi Broom was safe on an error, went to second on Kirk’s sacrifice bunt, took third on Easterling’s groundout to the mound and came home on a Sedlock wild pitch.
Logan made some noise in the top of the seventh getting the potential tying runs on base after Ward’s infield single and Hale’s ground ball which was booted by the Lady Tigers.
Berry, though, hunkered down and fanned Toppings to preserve the victory.
The Lady Cats had went on top 2-0 in the first as Ward led off with a walk and later scored on a wild pitch and Collins walked and later took home on a double steal play with runners at the corners.
Chapmanville loaded the bases in the second and third innings but failed to score.
Then in the fourth, the Lady Tigers finally hit their stride.
Kirk added a hit and two sacrifice bunts for Chapmanville. Caitlin Elkins also had a hit. Sedlock added a single for LHS.
Tuesday night’s victory by Chapmanville over Logan was only the second time the Lady Tigers had beaten the Lady Cats dating back to the Lady Tigers’ 31-3 state championship season in 2009.
Last season, the two teams split as Logan won 7-1 at home and fell 2-1 on the road.
Before that, the last Chapmanville win over Logan was on April 18, 2009 at the Cabell Midland Sluggerfest when Chapmanville prevailed 8-1.
Chapmanville went 2-1 against arch-rival Logan in 2009 also winning an epic 13-inning game at Logan by a 3-1 score when then CRHS pitcher Andi Williamson (now pitching at Marshall) struck out a state record 33 batters in a single game — a ballgame that lasted three and a half hours. Logan won the last meeting that season by a 1-0 count at Chapmanville.
In Chapmanville’s 2010 back-to-back Class AA state championship season, the Lady Tigers lost 5-0 and 4-0 to the Lady Cats.
Then in 2011, Logan made it a sweep again with 7-1 and 5-4 wins over the Lady Tigers.
Logan and Chapmanville were briefly Class AA sectional rivals between 2003-08 and the Lady Tigers held a slight 15-11 edge in the rivalry in those six seasons.
The Lady Tigers were scheduled to get back into action with Wednesday night’s home game against Cardinal Conference dormat Tolsia. CRHS then hosts Class AA sectional rival Scott on Thursday at 5:30 p.m. before going to Sissonville on Friday night.
Logan was slated to host Point Pleasant on Wednesday night. The Lady Cats then go to Lincoln County on Thursday and to Shady Spring on Friday in a pair of 5:30 p.m. contests.