The Nine, a local 16 and under traveling softball team, returned to action with a top-four finish in the recent NSA West Virginia State Qualifier tournament held at the Godbey Fields in South Parkersburg.
The weekend began with an 8-1 victory over Ballistix of Ripley. Haylee Bowers announced her return to the team by going 3-3 and driving in four runs. Taylor Cosper also went 3-3 and drove in a pair of runs. Audrey Gibb had two hits and an RBI, with Graeson Baker also collecting two hits. Mackenzie Marshall knocked in a run with a base hit, as well. Monica Curtis went the distance in the circle to pick up the win.
The WV Dusters, eventual tournament champs, knocked off The Nine in the final game of pool play by a score of 10-0.
This tournament featured a double-elimination format in the knockout round, which proved to be a good thing for The Nine, since they fell to Ballistix by a 4-3 score.
Bowers and Audrey Gibb again led the charge by going 2-3 with an RBI each. Cosper and Davianne Croasmun each had a pair of hits, while Anna Gibb drove in a run.
Some say revenge is a dish best served cold, but day two brought plenty of heat and plenty of opportunities for revenge. WV Amp, which defeated The Nine in the championship game at Glenville, was the first up.
After Bowers, Marshall, and Erinn Clegg each drove in a pair of runs, the Amp was eliminated with by a score of 8-5. Maddie Taylor, Audrey Gibb, and Abby Durig had two hits each. Curtis was again the winning pitcher.
Another revenge opportunity arose as Ballistix fell into the loser's bracket and became the next opponent. Clegg then took matters into her own hands by going 2-3, driving in three runs and pitching a three-hitter in an 8-2 victory for The Nine.
Cosper and Curtis each pushed two runs across, with Audrey Gibb driving in the other. Bowers, Croasmun, Taylor, and Marshall each had a pair of base hits.
Despite the day's heat, The Nine seemed to run out of steam as they were eliminated by The Fellowship of Christian Athletes, 4-0. They didn't go down without a fight, however, as Audrey Gibb and Curtis each had two hits and Croasmun, Bowers, and Cosper rendered one each.
The Nine has experienced some of its best successes this summer, despite limited team practice time.
However, the team's success might be attributed to the quality people on the team as each player also has represented her school in either other sports or leadership activities.