MOUNT ZION, W.Va. — Now the seeding makes a difference.
After having to win its way through the loser’s bracket, the top-seeded Wahama softball team once again has home-field advantage following a 14-2 drubbing of host Calhoun County on Monday night in a Class A Region IV, Section 1 contest.
The visiting Lady Falcons (19-11) — who opened tournament play with a 12-11 loss to Wirt County — reeled off its fourth consecutive postseason win while handing the fifth-seeded Lady Devils (8-13) their first Region IV, Section 1 setback.
The Wahama triumph forces a winner-take-all showdown that will be played at 5 p.m. Tuesday in Hartford because the Lady Falcons are the higher-seeded team. The victor of Tuesday’s contest advances to the Class A Regional tournament.
WHS never trailed in the contest after building a 9-0 cushion midway through the third, but the hosts rallied with two scored in the home half of the third to close to within 9-2.
The Lady Falcons tacked on another run in the fourth, then added four more scores in the fifth to secure a commanding 12-run advantage.
CCHS had runners on the corners with two away in the fifth, but a strikeout ultimately ended both the threat and the game.
Wahama got on the scoreboard in the third as Ashtyn Russell led the inning off with a walk, then came around to score on a Victoria VanMatre double for a 1-0 edge. VanMatre came around one batter later as Hannah Billups reached safely on a two-base error, then Billups scored on an Autumn Baker ground out for a 3-0 lead.
The Lady Falcons sent 11 batters to the plate in the top half of the third, which led to six runs on five hits, an error, a hit batter and two fielder’s choices — resulting in a nine-run advantage.
Madison Dennis provided Calhoun County’s lone offense following a two-run homer to center with one out, cutting the deficit down to seven after three full frames. The hosts — despite having seven baserunners after the home run — mustered only one hit and went scoreless the rest of the way.
Grace Haddox singled home Russell in the fourth for a 10-2 cushion, then the guests added another four runs in the fifth to wrap up the 14-2 triumph.
The Lady Falcons outhit CCHS by a sizable 12-4 overall margin and also committed only two of the six errors in the contest. WHS stranded seven runners on base, while the hosts left six on the bags.
Hannah Rose was the winning pitcher of record after allowing two earned runs, four hits and one walk over five innings while striking out four. Tori Carpenter took the loss after surrendering seven earned runs, 12 hits and two walks over five frames.
Russell led Wahama with three hits and four runs scored, followed by Rose, Baker and Victoria VanMatre with two safeties apiece. Haddox, Emma Gibbs and Maddy VanMatre also had a hit each for the victors.
Victoria VanMatre and Baker both drove in a team-best three RBIs, with Rose and Russell each adding two RBIs to the cause. Haddox, Maddy VanMatre and Victoria VanMatre also scored two runs apiece.
Dennis accounted for two hits and two RBIs, with Carpenter and Katie Jones providing a safety apiece.
Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.