Magnolia in hunt when rain halts play

VIENNA – With neither team budging in the winner’s bracket of Class A on Wednesday night, Buffalo struck the first blow before the rains arrived and suspended play with the Bison leading Magnolia 1-0 with one out in the top of the fourth inning.

Action will be resumed at 9 a.m. today with neither school wanting to fall into the loser’s bracket. Otherwise, that makes for a long road back.

“Buffalo’s pitcher is good, but we believe we have a good pitcher too,” Magnolia coach Dillon Mangino said. “We will definitely have to compete and bring out our ‘A’ game on (Thursday). I think we are capable and if we make the plays, I like our chances.”

Also in Class A, Moorefield eliminated Sherman with a 6-3 victory. Moorefield’s day began with a 14-3 loss in six innings to three-time defending state champion Buffalo, while Sherman fell to Magnolia 4-2.

Buffalo 1, Magnolia 0

(Game suspended

in 4th inning)

Magnolia left-hander Mallory Chapman actually owned the upper hand in the first three innings against her counterpart Ali Burdette. Chapman recorded first-pitch strikes to eight of the first nine batters she faced and retired the first 10 batters she faced.

Burdette wasn’t exactly perfect, but was throwing a no-hitter and registered four strikeouts in her first three innings of work.

With a steady rain starting to fall in the top of the fourth inning and Buffalo at the plate, Courtney Allen reached on a one-out single and Burdette followed with a gapper to right-center field. The stand-up double drove in Allen and put the Bison in front 1-0.

Next at the plate was Chelsey Parkins. But before Chapman delivered on an 0-1 count, tournament officials signaled for a 30-minute lighting delay. Eventually after a coaches’ meeting, play was suspended for the night.

“Mallory Chapman is a very good pitcher and likes to keep the ball low,” Buffalo coach Darrell Moore said. “They have a nice team. I watched them defeat Wheeling Central and I’m impressed with them. This team is for real and I told our girls don’t overlook them.”

Moorefield 6, Sherman 3

Moorefield led from start to finish after scoring three runs in the top of the first inning. The Yellow Jackets’ Beth Cook was a one-person wrecking crew after doubling in a run in the first inning and hitting a solo homer as part of a two-run seventh inning.

Following Cook in the batting order was Tara George, who went 3-for-4 at the plate. Her courtesy runner, Paige Crites, scored twice.

Both teams accounted for nine hits, including two apiece from Sherman’s Jordan Lewis, Paige Halstead and Nikki Santonio. The Tide closed to within 4-3 after scoring twice in the fifth inning, and after falling further behind 6-3 managed to bring the potential winning run to the plate with the bases loaded and two outs in the seventh inning.

Moorefield pitcher Danica Rogers escaped the jam when her counterpart Kylie Wells popped out to the third baseman.

Moorefield improved to 24-7, while Sherman closed out the season at 20-15.

Magnolia 4, Sherman 2

Third baseman Davianne Croasmun belted a solo home run to open the fourth inning to snap a 2-2 tie and Magnolia (18-14) went on to post a 4-2 win over Sherman in a Class A first-round game of the West Virginia state high school softball tournament Wednesday morning at Jackson Park.

Sherman had a taken a 1-0 lead in the Tide’s first at-bat as catcher Hali Jarrell singled in a run. But Magnolia went ahead 2-1 in the Blue Eagles’ half of the first frame on Croasmun’s two-run single before a run-scoring wild pitch enabled Sherman to knot the score at 2-2 in the third.

Croasmun, though, hammered a high drive over the left-field fence to push Magnolia into the lead and the Blue Eagles tacked on an insurance run on a Sherman error in the fifth.

Chapman pitched a five-hitter with 11 strikeouts and only two walks, while Wells also twirled a five-hitter.

Croasmun’s homer was “huge for us,” said Mangino. “That lifted us and got the momentum going our way. We got some timely hits today and got started off on the right foot here, and that’s always the way to go.”

Buffalo 14, Moorefield 3 (6 innings)

Buffalo (27-7) used three big innings to best Moorefield 14-3 in six innings in a opening-round Class A game at the W.Va. state high school softball tournament Wednesday afternoon at Jackson Park.

The Bison grabbed a 5-0 lead in the top of the third on Katie Higginbotham’s RBI double, a sacrifice fly by Burdette and a run-producing error sandwiched between RBI singles off the bats of winning pitcher Parkins and Noell Dingess.

However, Moorefield cut into that deficit with a three-run bottom of the third on back-to-back doubles by George and Brooke Riggleman, good for one and two RBIs respectively.

But a four-run fifth and a five-run sixth salted away the win for Buffalo. Dingess’ RBI infield single made it a 6-3 game in the fifth frame, followed by an error which enabled a run to score, Olivia Dunn’s groundout plating a tally and Higginbotham singling to drive in a run. And the five-run capper in the sixth saw Chase Cristy’s two-run single, a two-run error and finally another Higginbotham RBI single as the Bison’s leadoff hitter finished 4-for-5 at the plate.

Parkins chalked up eight strikeouts and didn’t issue a walk in tossing a four-hitter, while Buffalo’s batters banged out 11 hits and the Yellow Jackets committed six errors in the contest.

Steve Hemmelgarn also contributed to this story