VIENNA, W.Va. — Four-time defending Class AAA champion Hurricane played like a team with plenty of state tournament experience Wednesday.
The Redskins got dominant pitching from Harlie VanNater and their offense came alive in the middle innings to lead the way in an 8-0 victory against Wheeling Park at Jackson Memorial Park.
Emily Bennett connected for a second-inning triple and scored the game’s first run on an error, before the Redskins (31-6) upped their lead to 3-0 in the third on RBI singles from Taylor McCray and Zoey Dunlap.
“We definitely came in with the mindset that we cannot fall into the loser’s bracket,” VanNater said. “We cannot lose a game or fall behind because there’s always a chance of not making it to the championship game. We came with the mindset that we have to score runs and win.”
Dunlap’s solo home run in the fifth made it a 5-0 game and Reagan Schultz ended it early with one swing by connecting for a three-run home run in the sixth to bring the eight-run mercy rule into effect.
Wheeling Park (12-12) could never solve VanNater, who had all eight of her strikeouts through five innings.
“I was just trying to throw stuff that they couldn’t hit,” VanNater said. “I left a couple over the plate and they hit them and made me pay for it. But I just tried to make sure everything was working and breaking.”
Hurricane advances to face George Washington in the winner’s bracket, while the Patriots will take on Washington in an elimination game.
GEORGE WASHINGTON 4, Washington 2: GW battled back from a one-run deficit in the seventh inning to improve to 32-5 and set up a winner’s bracket matchup later Wednesday against Hurricane in a Mountain State Athletic Conference showdown.
Katy Darnell got the rally started with a double to leadoff the seventh and after a Washington pitching change, Darnell scored the tying run on Grace Smith’s single to right.
Emma Groe followed with a double to the wall in left, giving GW it held a 1-0 lead in the first inning.
GW then drew thrree straight walks, the latter of which was drawn by Kalissa Lacy to bring in the team’s fourth run.
Although Washington minimized the damage to keep its deficit at two, GW pitcher Brianna McCown pitched a scoreless seventh to go the distance and earn the win.
GW had garnered the early 1-0 lead after connecting for three straight singles, including one by McCown that helped her cause and drove in the game’s first run.
Washington (26-2) got even in the second on Madison Carlisle’s RBI single, and took its only lead in the third on a Hannah Ruffner sacrifice fly.
Jordyn Brown pitched seven solid innings for Washington.