6:00pm: Sportsline with Tony Caridi

Washington closes out regional tournament with 8-1 win over Musselman

— Story by Daniel Woods

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va.Cliches of old says that 13 is an unlucky number but it brought more than just luck to the Washington Patriots on Thursday night with Chloe Constantino striking out her 13th batter and retiring her 13th consecutive hitter for the final out, sending her team to next week’s state softball tournament with an 8-1 win over Musselman. 

Constantino proved nearly untouchable in the Class AAA Region II championship series clincher, allowing just five base runners in a complete game performance that gives Washington its first regional title since 2021. 

“She’s just a workhorse,” Washington head coach Amanda Orkoskey said, “She can lock in and can just completely do what she’s got to do out there so that’s what we need and we’re definitely looking forward to seeing what we can do with her in the state tournament because she’s been great in the circle for us this year.”

After defeating Musselman by a 6-1 score on Monday, two days worth of rain delays denied the Patriots an opportunity to seal the three-game series on their home field until Thursday. 

With that anticipation in mind, the tone was set quickly with Constantino striking out the side in the first and Washington posting a crooked number in the second. 

Anna Sedlock and Taylor Decker reached with a walk and single respectively to lead off that crucial frame with Sedlock coming across on Zoe Kesterson’s RBI single. Two batters later, Gabby Bibb hit into a bases-loaded fielder’s choice that scored Decker and gave the Patriots a two-run lead. 

Constantino helped herself with the big blow of the inning, a line drive to center field that was misplayed and rolled all the way to the fence in the cavernous outfield at Washington. That allowed both runners on base to sprint home and Constantino put the pedal to the metal, rounding the bases with ease for a three-run inside-the-park home run. 

Musselman’s Ellie Sloan recorded the final out of the inning from the circle and then set about chipping into the lead the next time she came to the plate. 

After Lydia McClintock singled to lead off the third, Sloan stepped up and sent a pitch twisting toward the right field line where it fell and was overrun by the Washington defense, allowing McClintock to score from second and Sloan to replace her in scoring position. 

The problem for Musselman quickly became the fact that the Lady Applemen’s first score of the game only seemed to make Constantino stronger. 

The right-hander proceeded to strike out the next five batters she faced, running that streak from the final out in the third to the first in the fifth. 

After setting down the final two hitters of that fifth, the Patriot bats got back to work. Courtney Greenfield reached with a one-out single and came home in a hurry as Morgan Cave tripled to make it a 6-1 game. 

Sedlock followed with an RBI knock that drove in Cave and proceeded to swipe second base moments later. Kesterson made sure that effort didn’t go unnoticed, driving in another run and putting Washington one run away from capturing the series in run-rule fashion. 

All nine Patriots that started the game in the batting lineup reached base, a feat that did not catch Orkoskey by surprise. 

“That’s something we’ve really worked on and I’ve even got some guys on the bench that like I showed tonight, that we can pull in. I’ve got confidence in all of them so we are truly 13 strong,” she said.

Despite the Patriots loading the bases, Sloan secured the final out and extended the game into the sixth. 

That remained no problem for Constantino who continued her dominance by putting away Musselman’s last six hitters in order to secure an 8-1 victory and a spot in the state tournament. 

Washington will vie for West Virginia’s biggest honor for the first time since 2021, the final appearance of a four-year streak that dated back to 2017 and sandwiched the canceled 2020 tournament.

“We’re a great team together and that’s what it takes. You’ve got to have the talent. You’ve got to have the camaraderie and the teammates and we’ve got to play as one team and just take it one thing at a time. We are ready. We’re ready to give it a good shot,” Orkoskey said.

The Patriots will face Cabell Midland in the opening round of the state tournament on Wednesday, 30 minutes after the conclusion of the Class AAA bracket’s first game which is set for 12 pm between University and Greenbrier East.

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