HURRICANE, W.Va. - Courtney Rogers wasn't about to give in now.
The sophomore surrendered four hits and struck out 10, then powered the offense with a solo home run and a run-scoring single to send Hurricane past South Charleston 5-1 Tuesday in the semifinals of the Mountain State Athletic Conference Tournament. A crowd of about 200 attended the matchup at Hurricane High School.
Top-seeded Hurricane (25-4), the defending MSAC champion, will take on No. 2 Cabell Midland today, 30 minutes after the conclusion of the consolation game, which starts at 5:30 p.m. at Hurricane High. Midland downed No. 3 Ripley 5-1 in the semis earlier Tuesday evening.
The Redskins have come a long way since winning their first MSAC championship last year as the fourth-seeded team. Hurricane, which set a school record for wins last year and is poised to break it again this year, was third in this week's state sportswriters' poll and earned the top seed and the right to host the MSAC tourney.
"It means everything because people think they can beat us and want to beat us,'' said Rogers of advancing to the title game. "Everyone wanted to win so we could play [today]. It's helping us that everyone's hitting.''
Rogers gave the Redskins the lead for good in the bottom of the second with a solo shot that landed over a small knoll and into a bed of flowers near the sidewalk adjacent to the baseball field for a 1-0 edge.
After a shaky first inning in which she put SC runners on second and third with one out before fanning the next two batters, Rogers set down 11 straight Black Eagles from the second inning through the fifth.
"When she's solid on the mound it seems it carries over offensively,'' said Hurricane coach Josh Caldwell. "The first couple of innings she kept us in the game, then got us on the board and that was huge. She's batting cleanup, a huge run producer, seven home runs. When we need a big hit, for the most part she usually delivers. She's been huge for us, no doubt.''
Redskins leadoff hitter Madison Casto, who walked, stole second and took third on a passed ball, scored on a balk in the third for a 2-0 advantage.