W.Va. State needs just one win to claim crown

VIENNA – West Virginia State needs just one win today at Jackson Park against Fairmont State to win the final West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference softball tournament championship.

The No. 2 seeded Yellow Jackets of head coach Bob Allen took control of the tournament by unleashing an offensive flurry in the winner’s bracket final against top-seeded Fairmont State on Friday afternoon during a five-inning 15-5 victory against the Fighting Falcons.

Alana Weyant’s first inning grand slam set the tone and allowed Jacket hurler Anna Eggleston plenty of room to work with as Allen’s squad chased losing pitcher Chelsea Cobb in the fourth inning.

“That grand slam made it easier,” said Allen, whose team will play FSU at 11 a.m. today and will have two chances, if needed, to win their second overall WVIAC tournament title and first since 2008. “Today, the kids played great. I’m tickled to death.

“Our freshman (pitcher) stepped up and did a great job. She’s going to be a good one. The kids hit the ball today. We didn’t get on the high stuff and we drove it.”

Indeed that was the case as WVSU led 5-1 after three, exploded for a seven-run fourth and tacked on three more in the fifth.

Cobb, who allowed eight hits and as many earned runs in the setback, got into trouble in the first after recording the second out when Dee Dee Loftis reached on a fielder’s choice. After that, Desiree Giffin and Mattie Best had consecutive singles and then Weyant, who went 2 for 4 and drove in six, launched her grand slam to right-center.

The Fighting Falcons did get a solo bomb from leadoff hitter Courtney Iacobacci in the bottom of the first, but ended up leaving six runners on base and going 0 for 6 with runners in scoring position through the first three frames.

In the third, Sabrina Schouten reached on a bloop single and made it 5-1 when she scampered home on Best’s opposite-field RBI double inside the right-field line.

The forgettable fourth inning for FSU started with the W.Va. State 7-8-9 hitters getting on to load the bases for the top of the order. Sydney Kaplan got things going with a single, Victoria Crawford was then hit by a pitch and Poppy Ramey sped to first on a bunt single. After that, Hannah Griffith produced a two-run single through a drawn-in infield. Schouten and Best also added RBIs while Kaplan capped the outburst with a two-run pop up single which fell between a trio of FSU fielders.

Leading 12-1, Schouten and Loftis reached on back-to-back singles in the fifth before Best delivered an RBI knock to left. Weyant capped State’s third best offensive output of the season when she laced a two-run double down the line in left.

Fairmont State, which advanced to today’s championship round by coming back to eliminate four-time defending tournament champion W.Va Wesleyan 4-0, didn’t go down without a fight as skipper Rick Wade’s club touched up Eggleston for four runs in the fifth.

Eggleston allowed a leadoff double to pinch-hitter Joni Tyree and then got a pair of outs. However, Carly Mundie knocked in Tyree with a single. Ex-Warren Warrior Kayla Leach entered as a pinch-runner and moved to third after pinch-hitter Ryne Hill, a Ripley graduate, singled to center. Sissy Stubbs then delivered a line drive three-run homer before Eggleston finished her complete-game by getting Terri Lynn Wolfe to fly out.

Cobb didn’t let her worst start of the season bother her while facing the Bobcats, who managed just two singles and never got a runner to second base. Cobb’s shutout featured a quartet of strikeouts as the senior issued just one free pass with two outs in the third to Amanda Davis.

Wesleyan’s Alex Furr had a leadoff bloop single in the first, but was erased for the third out when catcher Brittany Williams gunned her down trying to swipe second. Jacqui Omichinski had the only other hit, a one-out single in the fourth.

FSU got the only run it ended up needing off losing hurler Jess Griffin in the bottom of the second when Mundie doubled and pinch-runner Paige Erickson scored on Amanda Skidmore’s two-bagger. Fairmont State left fielder Holly Frampton, who robbed Bobcat Rebekah Honce of a fifth-inning hit via a nifty sliding catch, singled in Sarah Parsons in the third. Parsons and Wolfe each had a run-batted-in during the fifth and sixth innings, respectively.