HURRICANE, W.Va. - Hurricane has advanced further than any team in the program's history and it's not about to let up now.
The Redskins showed resiliency in persevering through a 6-5 victory over Cabell Midland Thursday evening in the Class AAA Region 4 semifinals. A crowd of about 600 ringed the field at Hurricane High School in the matchup of state-ranked teams.
Hurricane (29-6), No. 3 in the final state sportswriters' poll, set a school record for wins for a second consecutive season and hosts No. 8 St. Albans (28-4) next Thursday in the Region 4 final, with the winner advancing to the state tournament.
The Red Dragons, who have lost twice to the Redskins (9-0 and 13-0), shut out Point Pleasant 6-0 in the other semifinal.
Hurricane overcame a 3-0 deficit in the top of the first Thursday, committed four errors and weathered a tenuous top of the seventh as Midland put the tying and winning runs on base.
The Redskins defeated Midland 15-13 in their first regular-season meeting, but the Knights won 9-8 in the semifinals of the Best of the Best Softball Classic and 12-2 in the Mountain State Athletic Conference championship game.
"They came out a little nervous and a little tight, but what can you say, they came back and made the plays when they had to,'' said Hurricane fifth-year coach Josh Caldwell.
"This team is the closest and the best team as far as chemistry that I've ever been around. They don't want to quit. They don't want it to be their last day whether it's tonight or next week. They enjoy being together and they enjoy the experience.''
The Redskins were cruising along with a 6-3 lead until the Knights rallied in the seventh.
Jordan Colliflower laced a one-out run-scoring single through the infield and Savannah Eplin knocked in another on a fielder's choice as Midland closed within 6-5. Hurricane center fielder Nicole Pierson, though, made a game-changing play on Eplin's sharply hit ball with the bases loaded when she fired to third baseman Emily Davis to get the force for the second out.
The No. 2 Knights (27-6) still had runners at first and second, but Redskins pitcher Courtney Rogers retired Midland's Erin Kaplan on a popout to second baseman Madi Casto to touch off a wild celebration near home plate.