Small Ball Does Blue Eagles In
The Ritchie Lady Rebels used small-ball approach that rattled the Magnolia defense and helped them get by Magnolia, 3-1, in the Region I, Section II Championship May 8 at Ritchie County High School, and a date with Wheeling Central next week in the Region I best of three Regional Championship.
The Lady Rebels opened the bottom half of the first with two-straight pop-ups, before the Rebels’ Chloe Elliott jumped on an Ashley Tharp fast-ball for a stand-up double. After a walk and a wild-pitch moved both runners up a notch, then came a RBI single, but the runner got a little farther off first and was gunned own on a nice throw by Kelly in right-field to close out the first inning, with Ritchie up, 1-0.
Elliott got Magnolia out one-two-three. Ritchie would cash in in the home-half with a seeing-eye single between home and first for a single. A sacrifice bunt moved the runner to second, and after a nice defensive play by Bayli Fluharty in front of the plate, and the Rebels would again move the base-runner up a spot on another passed ball, that led to a RBI single to give the hosts a 2-0 lead after two-innings of play.
The light-hitting Eagles squandered a two-out walk, and Eliott struck-out the first batter of the game-looking to end their inning.
Ashley Tharp recorded her first of six strikeouts, before giving up a another long single to Elliott. After a fielder’s choice and another small-ball single, Tharp got out of a jam with a fly-out to right-field.
Tharp opened the fourth with a stand-up double and moved up a spot on a Ritchie wild-pitch and scored on a ground-out to second by Ashlyn Piekarski. Lindsey Whiteman followed with a doubled to right-field, but Elliott settled down and struck out the next batter to get out of the inning with one run.
However, the wheels fell-off in the home-half for the Eagles as they fielded a bunt was thrown into the out field, but the throw back to nip the batter-runner went into the Ritchie bench for another error.
Another fielded bunt was thrown wildly to first and Ritchie scored an insurance run. After a Tharp strikeout, the Rebels singled, but the runner at third was thrown out at the plate on the throw by Tharp for the second out. The Blue Eagles Paige Brill threw-out the next batter on a nice defensive play to end the fourth, down, 3-1 after four.
Ritchie retired the Eagles one-two-three in the top of the fifth. The Rebels opened with a single and was sacrificed to second on a nice bunt. The Rebels added another infield single, but a Tharp strikeout and another nice defensive play by Brill got Magnolia out without any damage.
Kayna Anderson opened the sixth with a single to right, but was thrown out at second trying to steal second with Tharp at bat, who then struck-out. Ashley Kelly then singled, but Lindsay Whiteman flew out to end the sixth.
Tharp struck out the side in the sixth, to give them a chance, but Whiteman was thrown out at first on a bang-bang play for the first out, followed by a Shyanna White single. However, Elliott struck-out the final two batters to claim the win, giving tRebels long-time head coach Dave Mosser his 750th win.
Ritchie was again paced by Elliott with two singles, while getting the win from the circle, striking out seven and walking one. Ashley Davis singled twice and knocked in a run, while McKenzie McComas also singled twice for the Lady Rebels.
The Blue Eagles were paced by Tharp and Whiteman, each drilling a double. Piekarski singled and drove in a run, while Anderson, White and Kelly each singled for all the Blue Eagle hits.
The Eagles finished the season with a 16-7 record, and a second place finish in the OVAC Class-3A tournament. Magnolia will lose seniors Lindsay Whiteman, Ashley Tharp, Ashlyn Piekarski, Rian Dawson to graduation.
Magnolia 7, St Marys
Magnolia scored five runs in the third inning, and went on to defeat St. Marys, 7-4, in the Region I, Section II semi-finals May 7 at New Martinsville Hydro Field.
The Blue Eagles got on the scoreboard first in the second inning, when Ashlyn Piekarski opened with a double and was replaced by Kailyn Pallico as a pinch-runner. Lindsey Whiteman was safe at first on a sacrifice bunt, sending Pallisco to third. Whiteman stole second before Bayli Fluharty laid down a perfectly placed squeeze down the first base line to score Pallisco to give the hosts a 1-0 lead.
In the third, the Blue Eagles scored five runs on six hits, that included a bases-full triple by Fluharty, and a two RBI single by Piekarski to extend the lead to 6-0 after three innings of play.
However, you never count out a team that is fighting to move on to play for the sectional final. St. Marys would cut the deficit in half with a three-run fourth.
The Devils opened the fourth with an infield single followed by a fielder’s-choice. A run-scoring double and a MHS throwing error put the Lady Devils back in business. A HBP and another Magnolia error scored a second run. A bunt over throw and a passed ball gave the Blue Devils its third run.
After a lead-off walk to Paige Brill and a single by Kayna Anderson, Tharp popped up for an infield-fly rule for the first out, and thats all she wrote as the next two batters flied out to center-field.
Brill made an exceptional catch at short for the first out in the fifth, but after a St Marys single and a come-backer to Tharp in the circle, a throwing error scored another Devils a run to close the gap to 6-4.
Whiteman singled to open the home-half of the fifth, and quickly stole a base. She would later score on a St Marys throwing error for an important insurance run heading into the sixth.
Both teams went down in order in the sixth and St Marys in the seventh to give Magnolia the 7-4 win.
Tharp struck out 11 and walked one to get he win from the circle, while adding a pair of singles at the plate. Anderson singled twice, while Piekarski singled, doubled and knocked in a pair. Whiteman singled and stole a base and scored twice, while Shyanna White singled. Fluharty tripled, reached on an error, had a sacrifice and knocked in a carer-high four runs.
For the St Marys , Skyar Alner and Lara Fetty each singled, while Mahayla Nichols struck out four.