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Hurricane's Rogers captains AAA all-state softball team

By Jim Elliott

WHEELING - Three members of Hurricane's state champions and three members of John Marshall's season-long top-ranked team highlight the West Virginia Class AAA all-state softball squad, announced today by the West Virginia Sports Writers Association.

The Redskins, who won 33 games, blitzed through the season and the state tournament behind the pinpoint control and powerful stroke of sophomore pitcher/infielder Courtney Rogers, who was named captain of the squad as a utility pick.

While plenty of teams fell victim to Rogers and the Redskins in 2013, Wheeling Park did so when the stakes were highest, as Hurricane twice defeated the Patriots during the tournament in Vienna.

Color Park coach Dee Davis impressed.

"She's very good," Davis said of Rogers. "She's not overpowering, but she hits her spots. If she wants it down and away, that's where it's going. If she wants it up and in, that's where she throws it. Her location is great. Plus she can hit."

The ultimate two-way player, Rogers was 21-3 with 100 strikeouts and a 2.23 ERA in the circle and a robust .492 with 11 home runs and 60 RBIs at the plate.

Also making the first-team grade for the Redskins were strong-armed catcher Linzie Reynolds, who batted .466 with 54 hits and 44 RBIs, and speedy outfielder Addie Fullen (.425, two homers, 42 RBIs). Fullen was a second-teamer a season ago.

"They've got a lot of hitters," Davis said, "and they're all quick. They had team speed. That's a big thing. You can lay it down, your singles can go to doubles and your doubles can go to triples. That makes a difference."

It certainly did for Hurricane, which not only won its first softball title but was also competing in its first state tourney.

For John Marshall, the 2012 champion that was eliminated by Wheeling Park in a regional final, infielder Kylie Howard caps her career with a fourth consecutive first-team nod.

"She's probably the most talented and most athletic player we've ever had," JM coach Ed West said. "She's been very good, very consistent, and she can beat you in a lot of ways. If she's not getting hits and driving in runs, she's making plays on defense and getting people out. She does a lot of good things."

Monarchs pitcher Amy Rotriga earns her third consecutive selection after being named to the second team her freshman season, and Alyssa George made the club as an outfielder.

Howard, who injured a knee in basketball, rallied to hit .400 with 10 doubles, eight triples and 36 RBIs, while the left-handed Rotriga capped her senior season with a 0.99 ERA in 1551/3 innings, striking out 278 batters along the way.

George, a junior, led the Monarchs with a team-best 38 RBIs while batting .414 with four home runs.

Though George will be back, Rotriga, Howard and catcher Kristin Lewicki (the captain of the all-state second team) leave as leaders of JM teams that went a combined 65-8 the last two seasons, had winning streaks of 24 and 29 games and went to three state tournaments.

"They've been an excellent group, both on the field and off the field," West said. "They've been a pleasure to coach and pleasure to watch for four years."

Rounding out the pitchers are St. Albans senior Ali Haynes, the state's leader with 27 victories who had 166 strikeouts and a 1.25 ERA in 191 innings; South Charleston's Alli Burdette, a repeat first-teamer who went 19-8 with a state-best 326 strikeouts in 176 innings; Morgantown's Tara Hanson (11-4, 85 strikeouts, 0.55 ERA with 11 complete games), whose only losses came to John Marshall and Wheeling Park; and Ripley junior Chelsey Hager, who went 10-4 in the circle with a 1.05 ERA.

Haynes, who also hit .442 with five homers, 44 RBIs and 18 doubles, was the second-team captain in 2012.

Joining Howard in the infield are Park's Carly Greer, a junior pitcher/first baseman who batted .381 with a pair of homers and 18 RBIs to go along with 77 strikeouts in 92 innings pitched; Cabell Midland's Morgan Zerkle (.647, four homers, 23 RBIs, 59 runs) and Morgan Kelley (.456, eight home runs, 54 RBIs); and Shady Spring's MacKenzie Milam (.641, six home runs, 39 RBIs). Kelley is a repeat first-team selection while Zerkle also earned the honor in 2011 as a sophomore.

Grabbing the other two utility spots were Jefferson's Alexandra Witt (.447, eight home runs) and Parkersburg's Brittany Allison (.427, seven home runs, 26 RBIs).

St. Albans senior Mariah Caudill (.442, four homers, 55 RBIs) is the club's other catcher. Lewicki, John Marshall's leading hitter at .524, including 45 singles from her leadoff spot, was named to the second team for a third straight year.


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