CHAPMANVILLE, W.Va. — The Chapmanville Regional High School softball team had an air of confidence heading into Tuesday night’s Region 4 tournament game with Point Pleasant at Chapmanville’s Ronnie Ooten Field.
The Lady Tigers, the defending Class AA state champs, had just went on the road on Monday at Point Pleasant and beat the Lady Knights 1-0 to go up a game in the best-of-three series.
Chapmanville had junior pitching ace Kenzie McCann taking to the circle again. McCann shut out Point Pleasant in Monday’s game and brought a 16-3 record and 0.92 ERA into Tuesday’s tilt.
Give McCann a run or two and the Lady Tigers will likely win.
They’ve proven that all season long.
In the second inning, McCann did it herself and helped her own cause with a two-run triple.
It all added up to a 3-0 Chapmanville victory as the business-like Lady Tigers earned the right to return to Vienna and defend its state championship.
Point Pleasant saw its season come to a close at 23-9.
Chapmanville (23-3) is scheduled to open play in the Class AA state tournament next Wednesday, May 24 at 9:45 a.m. against Region 2 champ and fellow Cardinal Conference member Herbert Hoover (24-5) at Vienna’s Jackson Memorial Park.
Region 1 champion Oak Glen (23-8-1) will then take on Region 3 champion Wyoming East (20-4) in Game 2 of the state tourney 30 minutes after the Chapmanville-Herbert Hoover game.
The two-day double-elimination state tournament is set to conclude on Thursday, May 25.
Chapmanville was able to shut down Point Pleasant for the second straight day with McCann’s arm.
McCann tossed all seven innings and allowed no runs on four hits with three strikeouts and no walks.
Karson Bonecutter was the tough luck loser on the mound for the Lady Knights. She tossed six innings and yielded three runs on seven hits with three strikeouts and no issued walks.
Chapmanville has allowed just 22 runs all season — 14 of those came in losses to Class AAA state tourney bound Hurricane (7-3) and Winfield (7-1).
The Lady Tigers have 18 shutouts and have outscored their opponents 21-1 in the post-season.
Chapmanville coach Ronnie Ooten said he’s thrilled to have his team back in the state tournament again. The Lady Tigers will be looking for their seventh overall state title and first back-to-back crowns since 2009-10.
“It’s been hard and we’ve struggled hitting the ball. I’ve said it 100 times,” Ooten said. “We hit a lot of balls up in the air but heck, I’ll take a win anytime.”
Chapmanville went up 2-0 in the second inning after threatening to score in the first and leaving a pair of base runners on.
Carley Cook, the Lady Tigers’ third baseman, got the second inning started with a two-out single to center. No. 9 hitter and senior first baseman Kerston Kennedy then followed with an opposite field single to left to put two on.
Then it was the slap-hitting McCann, who delivered the hit of the game — a two-run triple to center, putting Chapmanville ahead 2-0.
The Lady Tigers added an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth as Karah Little singled, took second on a wild pitch and then scored on DP Jada Freeman’s opposite field bloop single down the left field line to make it 3-0.
Point Pleasant only had four base runners the entire game and only made it into scoring position once in the top of the fifth inning.
Center fielder Megan Hammond had a one-out single, took second on a wild pitch and then went to third on DP Kelsey Price’s ground out to second. Hammond was stranded there as Hannah Smith’s bunt attempt was popped up behind the plate and Chapmanville catcher Grace Belcher was able to catch the ball in foul ground to end the threat.
McCann allowed a two-out single to Hammoind in the top of the seventh but fanned Price to end the game. Hammond was 2-for-3 for the game. Point Pleasant leadoff batter Cammy Hesson was 2-for-3.
McCann was 2-for-3 with two RBI to lead CRHS.
Belcher, Little, Freeman, Cook and Kennedy all had one hit each for the Lady Tigers.
It was the final softball game for seniors Cammy Hesson, Karson Bonecutter, Victoria Allensworth, Michaela Cottrill and Megan Hammond in the Red and Black. The quintet amassed 95 wins over their four-year careers and appeared in four regional tournaments — three of which were at the Class AAA level.
Chapmanville is set to play old rival Herbert Hoover in the first game of the state tournament next week.
The two teams met twice this season with the Lady Tigers winning 5-1 on March 23 at Falling Rock in the season opener, then prevailing 1-0 over the Huskies on April 21 at home.
Chapmanville brings in a 20-4 state tournament record since 1999.
Since ‘99, the Lady Tigers have won the state championship every time they have went except for once. That was in 2011 when CRHS went 1-2 in the state tourney.
Paul Adkins is the sports editor of the Logan Banner in Logan, W.Va.