VIENNA, W.Va. — Much like it did in Wednesday’s state tournament opener, Hurricane had its way with the opposition in its second game at Jackson Memorial Park.
Behind another dominant outing from Harlie Vannater and more quality hitting, Hurricane rolled by George Washington, 9-0, in five innings.
The win puts Hurricane (32-6) one victory from its fifth consecutive Class AAA championship, while GW (32-6) will face Washington in an elimination game at 9 a.m. Thursday.
The Redskins entered off an 8-0 win over Wheeling Park earlier in the day, while GW had battled back in the seventh for a 4-2 win against Washington.
“That’s classic Hurricane softball what we played today,” Redskins’ coach Meghan Stevens said. “That’s what we were pressing in regionals and I felt we were a little bit off. We talked about it and since then they’ve had amazing practices and focus. They’ve come out and had good at bats and everybody’s put the bat on the ball.”
While GW won both of the regular season meetings against the Redskins, this one played out nothing like the previous two.
Hurricane’s Alivia Meeks led off with a home run to set the tone and give her team a 1-0 lead.
The Patriots got a leadoff single from Katy Darnell, but it proved to be their only baserunner until the fourth inning.
Vannater retired 12 straight after allowing the leadoff hit, including three via strikeout.
“Harlie’s just gotten better as the season’s gone on,” Stevens said. “With her mental toughness, she’s hard to beat right now.”
The Redskins scored four runs in the third to take control. Among the highlights were RBI doubles from Caitlin Mathes and Zoey Dunlap and a run-scoring single off the bat of Taylor McCray.
Mathes added a two-run home run in the fourth to make it 7-0, before Rachel Lyon helped end the contest early with an RBI double in the fifth.
“Whatever it takes,” Stevens said. “Home runs are awesome, but I get more excited when I see my team with line-drive singles and just rolling through that lineup.”
Vannater allowed four hits, while Brianna McCown took the loss for the Patriots.
WASHINGTON 11, Wheeling Park 3 (5 innings): Washington erupted for 11 runs over the middle three innings to prolong its season and eliminate Wheeling Park.
Washington (27-2) broke open a close game with a seven-run fifth to end it early.
After Katie Dubyak hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the fourth to turn a one-run deficit into a one-run lead, Washington was ahead for good.
Park was unable to get even in the top of the fifth and it turned out that would be its last time batting this season.
Hannah Ruffner delivered a two-run double in the home half of the fifth, while Jordyn Brown drew a bases loaded walk. Washington finished with four of its nine hits in the inning, including Madison Cenate’s two-run double that brought home the game’s final two runs and ended it early on the eight-run mercy rule.
Brown also doubled and scored as part of Washington’s two-run third, which erased nearly all of Park’s 3-0 lead.
Park garnered the early lead courtesy of Ashley Linder’s three-run double in the third, but it never scored again.