Parkersburg South scored two runs in the top of the first and that was all it would need in dispatching error-prone St. Albans 5-1 in the Class AAA Region 4 softball semifinals Friday at Don Godbey Memorial Park in Parkersburg.
The loss ended the Red Dragons' bid to defend their state championship.
"You can't make five errors and give up five unearned runs in the regional," said St. Albans coach Greg Garber. "It was the killer for us tonight.
"I thought we had hung in there and tried to make a comeback, but we made too many errors and gave them too many runs. We went 22-6 on the year, which I'm pleased with, but not with how our season ended. We're only losing two seniors from this team and I promise we'll be back next year."
South (19-6-1), which was No. 8 in the final state coaches association poll, will travel to No. 3 Lincoln County Thursday for the regional championship and a berth in the state tournament.
Patriots leadoff hitter Katelyn Hamilton opened the game with a single to left and advanced to second when Allison Parsons' bunt was misplayed. South loaded the bases with none out when Taylor Wittekind drew a walk from St. Albans pitcher Ali Haynes.
It looked as if Haynes and No. 2 SA (22-6) might escape the jam as she recorded two outs on a strikeout and fielder's choice that resulted in an out at home. But another error, this one on a grounder by Sarah Weaver, scored Parsons and Wittekind and staked South pitcher CeCe Bailey to a 2-0 lead.
Of SA's first 11 batters Bailey faced, only one reached base, but she was erased on a double play. Finally, with out in the fourth inning, Karlie Holmes put the Red Dragons on the board with a home run over the right-field fence to cut the deficit in half.
The game stayed 2-1 until the top of the sixth, when South scored three times for a 5-1 advantage.
A leadoff walk to Sarah Grey and single by Sarah Weaver gave the Patriots runners at first and second. Bailey drove in a run with a single to left, Weaver scored on a sacrifice fly by Jordan Blair and Hamilton drove in Jessie Townsend, who was running for Bailey.
After back-to-back one-out singles by Mariah Caudill and Kasey Hickman loaded the bases in the bottom of the seventh for the Red Dragons, Bailey induced an infield popout and then struck out the next batter to end the game. Bailey allowed just four hits, struck out seven and didn't walk a batter.
Haynes yielded just five hits and struck out eight, but walked five.