MADISON — With their backs against the wall, the Chapmanville Regional High School softball team lived to play another day.
Down a game the unranked Lady Tigers forced Thursday night’s winner-take-all Game 3 of the Class AA sectional tournament after knocking off Scott 2-1 on Wednesday night.
Chapmanville (14-16) had lost a 1-0 heartbreaker in Tuesday’s sectional tourney opener at Scott but bounced back to even the series against No. 4-ranked Scott, which dropped to 18-9 on the season.
Heading into Thursday night’s rubber match, the rival Lady Tigers and Lady Hawks were 2-2 against each other this season as the teams split during the regular season.
Senior pitcher Talya Berry was again the big story for Chapmanville as she hurled her second straight one-hitter against Scott.
This time, she was the winning pitcher as she led the Lady Tigers into the sectional championship game. Berry struck out three, walked none and hit one batter.
Jennifer Miller was the losing pitcher for Scott. She fanned five and walked none, while giving up four base hits.
The Lady Tigers tied the game 1-1 in the fourth inning with senior catcher Hanna Wooten’s sharply hit infield RBI single to second base. The ball bounced hard off Scott second baseman Katie Marcum’s face and Wooten reached base safely. The hit scored Caitlin Elkins, who had reached base safely on a dropped third strike and Scott throwing error. Elkins was then bunted over to second base by Lauryn Easterling.
Marcum had to leave the game and was replaced at second base by DP Ally Brown.
Chapmanville scored the go-ahead run later in the fourth as Berry singled and her courtesy runner Addy Lucas scored as she stole third and went home as the Scott catcher’s overthrow went for an error.
Scott scored its only run in the third as Sara Browning was hit by a pitch and later scored on a Chapmanville error.
Allyson Johnson had the Lady Hawks’ only hit of the game — a leadoff single in the bottom of the fourth.
Shian Meeks added a double for Chapmanville. Elkins had a single.
Berry then sat down Scott in order in the fifth inning.
In the sixth, Scott’s Katrina Conley reached base safely on a Chapmanville error and took second with a one-out sacrifice bunt by Chastity Ball but Berry was able to get Cassidy Allen out looking to end the threat.
Berry then got out the Lady Hawks one, two, three in the bottom of the seventh to preserve the one-hitter and the victory.
Lady Tigers’ coach Ronnie Ooten said it feels good to even the series regardless of what the outcome would be on Thursday night.
“It feels good to win but I feel bad about last night because we outhit them 4-1,” he said. “We gave them a run tonight on a bad throw. Talya has pitched great the last two games. The kids have played hard. We’ve got some young kids that are still making some mistakes but we’ve got another day to try.”
Ooten also praised the play of his catcher Wooten, who made an incredible acrobatic catch behind the plate on a bunt attempt by Allen in the fourth inning. Wooten, the Lady Tigers’ leading hitter this season, has had an outstanding softball career at Chapmanville. She plans on joining the United States Marines or the U.S. Army following graduation.
“She has played absolutely super,” Ooten said of Wooten. “She’s a good girl. She busts her butt. We could have thrown up our hands this year and said, ‘Well, we’re finished’ but we didn’t. This is a good bunch of kids. They’ve pulled together at the right time I hope.”
Lady Tigers Notebook
* Heading into Wednesday night’s sectional game, senior catcher Hanna Wooten was leading Chapmanville hitters with a .375 batting average. She also has two home runs.
Senior pitcher Talya Berry is also having a fine season with a .339 batting average and two homers.
Infielder Lauryn Easterling has a .273 average, while outfielder Cydnee Lambert was hitting .256 with one home run.
Caitlin Elkins has a .255 batting average.
Senior first baseman/pitcher Emma Paris has also hit a home run for Chapmanville.
* With Wednesday night’s win, the Lady Tigers moved their record to 14-16 on the season. Chapmanville, led by 33-year head coach Ronnie Ooten, is only believed to have had one losing season in its history.
Ooten has coached Chapmanville’s softball program since its inception in 1981 and has led the Lady Tigers to five Class AA state championships in 1999, 2004, 2007, 2009 and 2010.
With an average of 20 or more wins per season, Ooten is believed to have more than 600 career victories, ranking him No. 1 all-time among West Virginia softball coaches.
* Wednesday and Thursday night’s sectional games with Scott was broadcast on Williamson radio station WXCC 96.5 FM. Joe Kinzer had the play-by-play call.
* Thursday’s winner, either Chapmanville or Scott, is scheduled to host Class AA defending state champion Wayne next Thursday, May 9 in the Double-A regional semifinals.
Wayne beat Chapmanville in last year’s Class AA region semifinals and went on to win the state title.
The Pioneers (24-6) easily advanced to the regionals after knocking off Mingo Central 10-0 in a game which was stopped after five innings due to the mercy rule.
Wayne is 4-0 against Chapmanville and Scott this season, winning 1-0 and 5-2 over Scott and 9-0 and 2-1 over the Lady Tigers.
The Wayne vs. Chapmanville/Scott winner moves on to play in the regional title game for the right to play in the Class AA state tourney in Vienna, May 22-23.
The Lady Tigers last made it to state in 2011 when Chapmanville was 1-2. Chapmanville has a 16-3 record in the state tourney in its last six appearances.
* Savanna Vance has been the forgotten Lady Tiger this season. Vance, last year’s starting third baseman, missed the entire 2013 campaign as she suffered a torn ACL in her knee in a cheerleading accident last fall. Vance hit .393 last season and hopes to return to the Lady Tigers’ lineup in 2014.
* Scott was searching for its first Class AA sectional title since 2008 when the Lady Hawks topped Chapmanville and Logan in the section tourney at LHS. It was Logan’s last year as a Double-A school as the Lady Cats moved back up to the 3A level in 2009.
Scott 5 (nine innings)
MADISON — The Chapmanville Regional High School softball team wrapped up the Class AA sectional championship with Thursday night’s thrilling 6-5 win in nine innings over Scott in the winner-take-all section title game at Scott’s Lick Creek Park in Madison.
Chapmanville (15-16) won its fifth straight sectional title and moved on to next Thursday night’s Class AA regional semifinal game at home against Wayne (24-6) in a rematch of last year’s region contest. The Pioneers are the defending 2A state champs.
Scott, ranked No. 4 in the state, saw its season come to a close at 18-10.
The Lady Tigers scored the go-ahead run in the top of the ninth as right fielder Cydnee Lambert ripped a sharply hit single to center with the bases loaded to put Chapmanville ahead 6-5.
Chapmanville winning pitcher Talya Berry, who hurled all nine innings, then got out of a bases loaded jam in the bottom of the ninth to secure the win and the sectional crown.
It was a see saw battle.
The Lady Tigers took a 5-2 lead in the top of the eighth and appeared to be headed to victory. Berry put Chapmanville ahead with an RBI double to center field. Lambert followed with another RBI double to make it 4-2. Emma Paris then made it 5-2 with a run scoring single to center.
But in the bottom of the eighth inning, Scott’s Allyson Johnson cleared the bases with a three-run double to the left field fence which tied it up at 5-5.
Both teams had nine hits in the game.
Lauryn Easterling and Lambert had two hits each for Chapmanville.
Johnson was 2-for-3 with four RBI for Scott. Katie Marcum and Jennifer Miller both had two hits.
Berry went all nine innings and allowed five runs and nine hits with five strikeouts, seven walks and one hit batter. She pitched all 23 innings in the sectional tourney.
Ally Brown took the loss for the Lady Hawks. She also pitched all nine innings and yielded six runs and nine hits with seven strikeouts, two walks and one hit batter.
Scott committed four errors in the game to Chapmanville’s one.
Chapmanville’s four starting seniors — Berry, Paris, Brandi Broom and Hanna Wooten — have won four sectional championships in four years as members of the Lady Tigers. As freshmen in 2010 they played on the Lady Tigers’ Class AA state championship team.
CRHS coach Ronnie Ooten was pleased with the win.
“We’ve been down, down, down all year and everyone was dogging us but I told the girls two or three days before we came over here that they have got to play their game. If you play your style of game you can beat anybody,” Ooten said. “We beat a good ballclub.”
— Look for full details, photos, reaction and a recap of the Chapmanville-Scott game in Sunday’s Logan Banner print edition and on line at www.loganbanner.com.