SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The Winfield Generals arrived at Little Creek Park Thursday afternoon in the same position as a year ago, going against the same familiar opponent.
This time, the Generals got the result they were looking for — a first Class AA state softball championship.
Winfield defeated five-time defending state champion Herbert Hoover, 3-0 in the opening game of the championship round.
“Winfield is a great place. There’s great support and a great community,” said Winfield head coach Steve Hensley. “To take one back, we are going to enjoy this tonight and for a little while. I am thrilled.”
A day after defeating the Huskies, 1-0 in the winners bracket final, the Generals (33-4) quickly jumped on the scoreboard just four batters into the game. Chloe Kimble delivered a well-struck single to score leadoff batter Georgia Moulder.
“It is kind of what we have been doing all year — get off to a good lead, good pitching and good defense. When we are able to do that, we’re pretty good,” Hensley said.
While senior pitcher Maci Boggess continued to keep the Huskies’ lineup in check, her bat opened the game up in the bottom of the fifth inning. Boggess connected on a line-drive, two-run home run into the Winfield student section to extend the WHS lead to 3-0.
“It felt good off the bat and it was nice to have my teammates there to celebrate with me,” Boggess said.
“I think that just got the momentum really square at our back,” Hensley said. “For her to throw as well as she did and finish it off like that, that is just a credit to her. She has put in a lot of work and her teammates respect that.”
Boggess retired the final six Herbert Hoover batters in order to seal the victory. Boggess struck out eight batters, did not walk anyone and she allowed just five hits.
“I think before the game, I just had to get my mindset right and make sure all my pitches were working and make sure I was commanding the zone,” Boggess said.
Winfield finishes the year with a state-best 33 victories. They went 8-0 in postseason play, holding their opponents to two runs or less in each playoff game.
“Out of 37 games, the girls have been very consistent,” Hensley said. “We knew they were going to play well today against a great team and a storied program. We just had to make two or three more plays than them. We were able to do it.”
Ella Nelson had two hits for the Generals and Sydney Shamblin did the same for the Huskies.
HHHS (23-10) starting pitcher Laila Varney went the distance in the circle. She allowed six hits and struck out five batters.
For the first time since 2016 (Chapmanville), a team other than Herbert Hoover holds the Class AA Championship trophy.
“This senior group didn’t get their freshman year. Nobody did because of COVID. The growing they had to do to keep our program where it was, they never shied away from that,” said Herbert Hoover head coach Missy Smith. “They worked as hard as we made them work. In the offseason, they put in all the hard work they needed to do to make sure we were still one of the elite programs in the state. I am so proud of them.”