"They've all been very important," Allen said. "Poppy catches game after game after game and you can always depend on her. She's a skinny little thing but she's tough and you could catch her five games a day and she'd do it. Desiree plays third base and hits the ball really well and Sara is our other pitcher and she's 11-4 with an ERA under 2, so all of them have been big."
As of Tuesday, Lorraine's status was unknown after dealing with numbness in her throwing hand over the past few weeks. The senior ace didn't throw at all in the WVC tournament, with Pelegreen and freshman Anna Eggleston taking care of pitching duties.
"It would be great to have her throw at least three or four innings for us," Allen said. "She's a great player and I hate to see her end her senior year this way. We leave Thursday morning and if she can go she will go. If not we may have her play some outfield for us."
The fact that a freshman could step into a senior pitcher's shoes and still help guide the Jackets to a league title speaks to the kind of depth Allen and his staff have been able to accumulate over the past eight seasons since he took over in 2005.
State has averaged around 35 wins per year over that stretch. including another league title (2008) and two runner-up finishes (2011, 2012).
Heading into a new conference in the Mountain East next year, Allen hopes to continue this new and golden era of West Virginia State softball.
Advancing this weekend could go a long way toward continuing the program's ascent.
"I've worked extremely hard and had a lot of help from the school to make our facility one of the nicest in Division II," Allen said. "Nobody in Division II has nicer uniforms or equipment than we have and we work hard to raise money so the kids can have the best uniforms, cleats, the whole 9 yards. Kids know that our conditioning program is one of the toughest in the conference and our assistants do a fantastic job. After the kids have been here three or four months they look completely different.
"We're doing pretty well and we have a lot of local kids coming in and we've been fairly successful getting kids out of California and Canada."
Reach Ryan Pritt at 304-348-7948, ryan.pr...@wvgazette.com, or follow him at twitter.com/Rpritt.