SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. — After tying Thursday’s Class A elimination game against St. Marys with two runs in the seventh inning, Petersburg found new life in an effort to extend its season.
The Vikings did just that the next time they came to bat by connecting for three singles, the last of which served as a walk-off from Mickala Taylor to score Jazlynn Mowery and seal Petersburg’s 7-6 win in eight innings.
With the win, the Vikings (19-3) advance to face Wahama in the Class A championship. Petersburg needs to beat the White Falcons twice before losing to avoid Wahama repeating as Class A champion.
“We gave them some opportunities early, so maybe luck was a little bit on our side late,” PHS coach Bubba Hedrick said. “But we took advantage of some opportunities for sure and that’s just the nature of the game. Put the ball in play and see what happens.”
In a back-and-forth affair Thursday, the Vikings capitalized on several St. Marys (20-10) miscues in the seventh to prolong the contest. The first came when Taylor sent a ground ball to shortstop with two on and one out. It was misplayed and allowed Taylor to reach, while Jaslyn Shook scored from second. Still, with the bases loaded and one out, Blue Devils’ pitcher Ella Smith induced a pop out to third from Samantha Colaw.
With the Blue Devils in need of one more win to wrap up the victory, Smith induced a softly hit ground ball back to the mound. She elected to come home for the force out, but the throw sailed high and allowed Brooklynn Rohrbaugh to reach and Mackenzie Kitzmiller to score the tying run.
Were it for a quality defensive play that followed from St. Marys second baseman Layne Kincaid, the Vikings’ Kennedy Kaposy would’ve produced the game-winning hit in the seventh.
Instead, the contest went to the eighth and Colaw struck out the side before the PHS bats won it.
Smith’s first-inning ground rule double scored Zoey Winland with the game’s first run, but the Blue Devils allowed three runs in the bottom of the frame as starting pitcher Cali Masters failed to record an out. Baylee Corbin’s run-scoring double and a two-run single from Colaw allowed the Vikings to lead 3-1.
A costly PHS error in the second allowed Ella Bullman and Breanna Price to score with two outs as the Blue Devils pulled even at 3.
It stayed knotted until the bottom of the fifth when Shook led off with a single, took second on an error and eventually scored on Taylor’s groundout, giving the Vikings a 4-3 edge.
The Blue Devils answered immediately and with two on and two out, Ava Childers lifted a fly ball plenty deep to right field to serve as a sacrifice fly and tie the game. Instead, it worked out even better for St. Marys, as the ball was not caught and Kincaid and Ava Giovinazzo scored on the play, with Childers moving to third.
Childers scored two batters later on Bullman’s bunt single, leaving SMHS with the 6-4 edge.
Colaw struck out seven, walked one and allowed eight hits over eight innings.
“She’s really our only pitcher and she has just gutted it out all year and pitched well for us,” Hedrick said. “The girls have not quit or hung their heads.”
Smith recorded all 22 outs for St. Marys, while allowing four runs on eight hits. She struck out five and walked two while suffering the defeat.
Shook led all players with three hits, while Smith and Bullman had two apiece in defeat.
HERBERT HOOVER 7, Oak Glen 4: In a rematch of last year’s state championship won by the Huskies, Herbert Hoover jumped all over the Golden Bears early before holding off a late rally.
The win sends Hoover (23-4) to the Class AA championship against Winfield, with the Huskies needing to beat the Generals twice before losing to claim a fifth consecutive AA crown.
Brooklyn Huffman’s two-out, two-run double in the top of the first inning allowed the Huskies to take an early lead they’d never relinquish.
Although Oak Glen (27-4) got a Sarah Brown RBI single in response in the home half of the first, the Golden Bears would get no closer.
Instead, as has been the case throughout the state tournament, Huffman continued to swing a hot bat and drove in Abby Hanson with a third-inning single to up the Hoover lead to 3-1.
The Huskies took complete control in the fourth as Hannah Shamblin led off with a double and scored moments later on Josi Fix’s groundout to shortstop.
After consecutive doubles from Sydney Shamblin and Caroline Woody, Sydney Bright doubled the Huskies’ three-run lead with one swing — a home run to left that made it 7-1.
Fix relieved Hoover’s top pitcher Grayson Buckner to start the fourth, and the 7-1 lead remained intact until the Golden Bears cut their deficit in half in the sixth. Maddie McKay’s two-run double was the key hit of that inning, and McKay scored moments later on a Liv Munoz single.
Fix never let the Golden Bears get any closer and she retired the side in order in the seventh to wrap up the three-run win.
Buckner tossed the first three innings and was the winning pitcher after allowing one run on one hit. She issued one walk and struck out a pair, before Fix threw the final four frames and allowed three runs on four hits with a pair of strikeouts.
Lizzie Kell threw 6 2/3 innings for the Golden Bears and allowed three runs on six hits with seven strikeouts. While she was the losing pitcher, the Huskies did more damage against McKay, who was charged with four runs and recorded only one out.
Huffman and Bright each had two hits and drove in three runs in the win.