As abruptly as the 2014 WV High School girls softball season seemed to start back in March, so it has ended, now in May. The Lady Knight and Wildcat teams each saw their seasons come to an end last week at the Sectional Tournament, but each also have new ideas, plans and strategies set for next season.
Paden City's Lady Wildcats played to a runner-up finish at the OVAC Tournament and were more than ready to take on all comers at the Sectionals last week.
OVAC CLASS A RUNNERS-UP -- Paden City Lady Wildcats
In New Martinsville on May 5 the Lady Wildcats began their post-season play at the Sectional Tournament. The Ladies in Green scored three runs on seven hits and committed eight errors in the 7-3 loss against the Lady Dragons of Cameron.
Amber Neff and Taylor Cosper took their turns in the circle for the Wildcats in the game, with Neff walking two batters and Cosper walking four and striking out three.
Getting hits for the 'Cats were Megan Pierce, who doubled; Maddie Cox going two-of-four at the plate with two singles; Graeson Baker, singled and doubled; Cosper, singled; and Abby Still singled in the game.
Paden City returned to New Martinsville on May six for their second game in the double elimination tournament, unfortunately, coming out on the short end of the 3-1 score with the Lady Eagles of Magnolia.
The Lady Wildcats scored their one run on three hits and had three errors, while Magnolia scored their three runs on six hits and had one error.
Neff and Cosper again controlled the pitcher's position for the Green and White with Neff striking out one and Cosper striking out three.
The 'Cats had three hits in the game by Tori Anderson, Baker and Still.
Paden City ended the season with a 10-16 win/loss record.
The team should return to the diamond next year better poised than most with eight experienced juniors from this year returning next year in, Hannah Stanley, Kayla Hizer, Amber Neff, Megan Pierce, Tori Anderson, Graeson Baker, Mallory Estel and Nikki Little. With these eight, one solid returner in Taylor Cosper and a few freshmen scattered about the line-up, fans of the Lady Wildcats will be expecting more than a win or two.
It has been an up and down year for head coach Sam Livingston and the Tyler Consolidated Lady Knight softball team, who just could not quite get things to go their way this season. Consolidated ended their 2014 season at the Sectional tournament last week.
In St. Marys on May 5, the Lady Knights won the first round of play in the Class A, Region I, Section II, tournament with a fine defeat of the Valley Lumber Jills to put them in the semi-finals. Against the host team, St. Marys, it was a different story though.
St. Marys defeated the Ladies in Silver and Black 2-1 in the semi-final game. The Knights had four hits and left runners stranded in almost every inning, but just couldn't pull out the win over the Devils.
Devinn Moore worked the circle for the Silver, striking out three batters and walking three.
In game two, St. Marys got their feet under them and took the series in a big way, 11-2.
The Silver started off on the right foot, scoring two quick runs in the first inning, only to be answered by the Lady Devils putting eight runs on their side of the scoreboard in the first two innings, to take the eventual 11-2 win.
In the pitching position for the Knights, Moore walked two and struck out one; Alex Bubenchik walked three and struck out two.
Hitters: Jasmine more singled twice; Megan Carpenter singled for and RBI; and Shandi Long singled for an RBI.
"I still can't wrap my head around our record this year or the sectional loss," coach Livingston said of her teams effort. "These girls worked hard and improved so much."
The Silver Ladies have been led by seven seniors this year, all of whom will be lost to graduation in a few weeks: Shandi Long, Bailey Smith, Devinn Moore, Jasmine Moore, Alex Bubenchik, Esmee Coster and Megan Carpenter. But, with the end of the season always come the plans and rejuvenation of spirit for the next year.
"I have a lot of hope for next year," the coach said. "The seniors will be hard to replace, especially the two captains, but with the freshman gaining a year of experience and seeing what it's going to take to win the big games I think we will be ready."