Hurricane wins softball showdown
HURRICANE, W.Va. - The question coming into Tuesday night was which team would win the battle of the Kanawha Valley's Class AAA top-five teams.
That question was answered quickly, and it really wasn't much of a battle at all.
Eight of Hurricane's nine batters had at least one hit as the Redskins pounded out nine runs on 12 knocks and sophomore Courtney Rogers limited St. Albans to just three hits as Hurricane nailed down an impressive 9-0 five-inning mercy-rule win.
The No. 5 Redskins pounced early as leadoff hitter Madi Casto and No. 2 hitter Nicole Pierson led off the game with singles before Rogers scored them both two batters later with a double down the left field line.
Hurricane would score two more that inning on a Linzie Reynolds two-run home run, and things would only get worse for the No. 4 Red Dragons (15-2).
"We've hit the ball like that in a lot of games this year," Hurricane coach Josh Caldwell said. "We've come out and been aggressive, hit the ball, worked our counts, and when we do that we're going to be tough to beat."
St. Albans senior pitcher Ali Haynes was hit hard, and even when the Redskins didn't catch all of it it seemed to find holes in the infield.
"She wasn't throwing with her normal velocity," St. Albans coach Greg Garber said. "She didn't have her normal velocity and she didn't have her normal control. She fell behind a lot of hitters, and combined with the fact we had three hits that never left the infield, two pop-ups that drop, a bunt [single], and then a two-run early [double] off the handle that barely goes over third and lands on the line. When you add four unfortunate hits to a couple of blasts and a couple of shots and you're not hitting your locations, it makes for a quick night."
While there were a few dinks and dunks in the mix, there were also some scorchers.
The Redskins (14-2) accounted for five extra-base hits, including Reynolds' home run.
Shortstop Cassi Sargent doubled and tripled while driving home three runs to lead the Hurricane attack.
"We had to stay focused," Sargent said. "We had to know that we had to come in with our heads in it. We couldn't take them lightly at all so we came in ready to go.
"We worked a lot in the offseason. Our 1-through-18 can hit the ball no matter who you put in, JV or varsity."
"Our nine hitter has two home runs this year so we've got a very good, aggressive hitting team," Caldwell said. "All through the lineup we have power. It starts with [Casto] getting on and all the way through the lineup we have the ability to hit them out or double."
While Hurricane flashed its bats all game long, there was Rogers putting up zero after zero. She finished with seven strikeouts and no walks while giving up just three harmless singles.
"I just hit the corners and hit my spots," Rogers said.
Nicole Pierson, Rogers, and Addie Fullen joined Sargent in the two-hit club with Fullen adding a double and a pair of RBIs. Amber Null also had a double.
Madi Marshall, Alyssa Bonham, and Briana Pauley each had a single for St. Albans.
Despite the end result, St. Albans did accomplish something that few teams do.
With the score 9-0 in the bottom of the fourth, Hurricane had the bases loaded needing just one more run to end the game then and there.
Emily Davis laced a line drive to left field that seemed for all the world to be over St. Albans leftfielder Whitney Jones' head.
The Redskins runners took off, but Jones made a nice catch and quickly and got it back into the infield, where runners were forced out at third and second base resulting in the old 7-6-5-4 triple play and an extra opportunity at the plate for the Red Dragons.
Reach Ryan Pritt at 304-348-7948, firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him at twitter.com/RPritt.