POCA, W.Va. - Sissonville's bats were busy early and often as the Indians swept two games from Poca to capture the Class AA Region 4 Section 2 softball championship on Tuesday.
Sissonville won the first game 19-3 in five innings thanks in no small part to 16 hits combined with eight Poca errors. Freshman Alexee Haynes accounted for six runs batted in and struck out 10 Dots in the first game to pace the Indians, while senior Bekah Baldwin had three hits in the first game and followed that by going 3 for 3 in the second game, including a home run. Baldwin pitched the second game and struck out nine in the section-clinching 8-0 win.
"We all did our job really well and I tried to stay as focused as I could on the mound and in the box. I'm just glad we pulled through," Baldwin said. "I've been struggling hitting and tonight I kind of got out of that I hope."
Sissonville coach Niki Gross said having two capable arms to throw at opponents has been an advantage this season, especially with a freshman that not many teams have seen before.
"We've been alternating back and forth. Bekah will pitch a game then Alexee will pitch a game because they're both at the same level," she said. "It's phenomenal that I have a freshman that's pitching that well."
Katelyn Linville and Karli Pinkerton also had productive evenings for Sissonville. Linville score five runs in the two games on only one hit (she reached base on an error, a fielder's choice and was walked twice) while Pinkerton scored four times in the two games.
Poca got on the scoreboard in the first game when Tori Ward hit a two-out, three-run home run to left field in the fourth inning to cut Sissonville's lead to 8-3. The Indians did not waste any time getting those runs back, however, plating seven runs in the bottom half of the inning to increase their lead to 15-3 before scoring four in the fifth to set the final score at 19-3.
In the second game, the first four batters in the Sissonville lineup scored in the first inning. The Indians added three more in the second, were put out in order for the only time in either game in the third and added another run on Baldwin's home run in the fourth.
Region 4 in Class AA does not lack talent with Sissonville, Herbert Hoover, Scott and defending state champion Wayne all battling for a berth in the state tournament. In the Indians' two meetings with Hoover this season, the Huskies won each game by a single run, a point that has stayed with the team throughout the season. While Poca did not present the same challenge those teams might give Sissonville, Gross said it was good for her team to flex its muscles and get the offense rolling for the playoffs.
"It was good for us," she said. "We wanted to be aggressive throughout the whole game because it looks like we probably are going to face Hoover. Both times we played them we lost by one run so we're hungry and we want them. They're a good solid team that's well coached, but we're ready for them."