"My seniors are my two leaders and they've seen just about every situation in softball. I don't think anything will bother them and hopefully they can transpose that confidence and calmness to the rest of the team.''
Hurricane looks to take the next step under fifth-year coach Josh Caldwell as it tangles with perennial powerhouse Cabell Midland for the fourth time this season. The Redskins won their first sectional in recent memory over No. 4 Lincoln County.
"That was good for our confidence no doubt, accomplishing something we haven't in the last few years,'' said Caldwell, whose squad set a school record for wins for a second straight year. "We don't want to stop there, either. I think our team is not lacking confidence.''
Hurricane took a wild 15-13 win over Midland then lost to the Knights 9-8 on Morgan Kelly's grand slam in the semifinals of the Best of the Best Classic and 12-2 in the Mountain State Athletic Conference championship matchup after Midland scored eight runs in the top of the first behind 10 straight two-out hits.
"There's little room for error for both teams,'' Caldwell said. "We can't give [Midland] three or four runs. You're not going to shut out a team like that. We've got to limit our mistakes, then find ways to put runs on our own side. Whoever's big players come up the biggest will come through with the win.''
South Charleston has already beaten Ripley twice - 1-0 during the regular season and 3-1 in the consolation game of the MSAC tournament. Black Eagles pitcher Allie Burdette fanned 14 in the first meeting then whiffed 13, including the 1,000th of her four-year career, in the second.
Hoover and Sissonville, Cardinal Conference foes and rivals, tangle for the third time this season. The Huskies took both games, but only by 3-2 and 2-1 scores, getting the winning run in the bottom of the seventh in both games.
The other two defending state titlists are also still alive with AAA champ John Marshall (29-3) playing at University (18-13) in Region 1 and AA winner Wayne (25-6) at Chapmanville (15-16) in Region 4. John Marshall owns a pair of wins over University (10-0 and 19-7) while Wayne has also been victorious twice over Chapmanville (9-0 and 2-1).
Reach Tommy R. Atkinson at tatkin...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-4811.