VIENNA - Wayne made quite a statement Wednesday.
The Pioneers, the defending Class AA state champion, rolled to a pair of victories at the state tournament and cruise into today's championship round.
Wayne put an exclamation point on the day with a 14-1 victory over James Monroe in a game that was halted by lightning before the Mavericks coach forfeited. The Pioneers disposed of their biggest challengers in the morning session with a 4-1 win over top-ranked Ritchie County.
The Pioneers, who finished third in the state sportswriters' poll, await the Ritchie County-James Monroe winner at 2:30 p.m. today on Field 2 at Jackson Park in Vienna. (See Page 2B for results and schedule.)
"The first game was great,'' said Wayne coach Tish Smith. "We knew Ritchie County was going to be tough. [The second game against James Monroe] we wanted to see their No. 1 pitcher and unfortunately we didn't get to do that, but we'll take the win. You gotta love going into tomorrow with a lot of momentum. They can sleep late.''
Wayne took advantage of James Monroe's six errors in the second game, scoring 10 runs in the third inning to take control. Tasha Maynard led the offense with a 2-for-3 performance and two RBIs, while Jessie Rowe scattered six hits and one run. The Mavericks' Hillary Hersman banged out two hits and an RBI.
In the opener against Ritchie, which had only lost two games all season, Rowe kept the Rebels off balance, surrendering only four hits and striking out nine. Maynard knocked in a run while Rowe lashed two hits, including a double. Ritchie's ace, Kenna Kelancey, was knocked out after four innings and four runs. Michaela Smith singled in a run for Ritchie.
Smith said the Pioneers have been focused on only one goal and that's winning back-to-back titles.
"They've had it [on their minds] since February,'' she said. "They had it since school started as their team goal. We've got a really great chance of going back-to-back. Just keep our focus [one more day].''
Here's a capsule look at Wednesday's games:
Ashleigh Sidon pounded out three hits, including a double, for Park while Keleigh Sidon had two hits and Skylar Carrington drove in a run. Ripley advanced to states for the first time since winning it all in 2009.