SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Nothing could rain on these girls’ parade.
On a rainy Thursday afternoon, the Wahama softball team defeated the Petersburg Lady Vikings 4-3 to win its second consecutive Class A Championship.
On Day 1 of the tournament Wednesday, the Lady Falcons (29-2) defeated the Midland Trail Lady Patriots 5-3 in Game 2 and their first meeting with Petersburg 7-3 in Game 4.
In the second matchup Thursday, the Lady Vikings (20-4) threatened early as they loaded the bases in the opening inning.
However, the Lady Falcon defense held strong and kept their opponents from advancing home.
In the bottom of the first, Wahama got two of their first three batters on base, but the next two were called out.
The ballgame remained scoreless until the third inning, when the Lady Vikings got one runner home.
The Lady Falcons responded in the bottom of the third, with Amber Wolfe hitting a triple to bring home Mikie Lieving.
Wolfe herself touched home after Emma Knapp bunted, sliding under the glove of the Petersburg catcher to score.
A wild pitch brought home Kate Reynolds and Wahama owned a 3-1 lead heading into the fourth.
After the fourth inning went scoreless for both teams, the Lady Falcons added onto their lead in the fifth when a sacrifice fly by Lauren Noble advanced Lieving home.
However, the Lady Vikings didn’t go away.
With two outs in the sixth, Petersburg got two more runs to cut the Wahama lead to a single run.
After the White and Red went down in order in the bottom of the sixth, they faced the last three outs separating them and a state title. The Lady Falcons wouldn’t be denied.
After the first Petersburg batter grounded out and the second was called out at home plate, Payton Staats caught a ball in foul territory to clinch the championship.
As was the case last season, the Lady Falcons were led on the mound by Lieving, who allowed nine hits, three runs and three walks while striking out 13 in seven innings pitched.
Lieving said it still hadn’t hit her that she and her team have repeated as state champions.
“It’s an insane feeling,” she said. “We won this game because no one on our team is selfish. We play for each other.”
Even after falling behind on the scoreboard to Petersburg in both games, Lieving said she knew she had the support of her teammates.
“I knew my defense had my back and I just needed to do what I know how to do,” she said. “I knew we could come back. We just had to give them everything we had and I think we did.”
Because the Lady Vikings lost to the Lady Falcons, they had to play an elimination game against the St. Marys Lady Devils earlier in the day, which they won 7-6 in eight innings.
Lieving also stressed how important their first victory against Petersburg was.
“I think our second game yesterday was the most important game of the tournament, because it determines so much” she said. “It’s definitely a big advantage not having to play earlier, so we really wanted to win that game.”
Wahama head coach Chris Noble said Lieving’s contributions to the team cannot be overstated.
“Mikie has been huge for us for two years now,” he said. “She’s the backbone of the team, but the team also rallied behind her today. We played great defensively and we got the hits when we needed them.”
Noble also praised the resilience his team showed not only during the tournament, but throughout the season.
“They are incredibly resilient,” he said. “They never gave up no matter what. They’re a really good group of girls.”
The White Falcons were outhit 9-8 by their opponents, while committing one error.
Leading the White and Red in hits were Lieving and Emma Knapp with two each.
Rounding out the Wahama hitting were Wolfe, Noble, Morgan Christian and Kalyn Christian.
Lieving led her team in runs with two, while Wolfe, Noble and Knapp each recorded an RBI.
Leading the Lady Vikings in hits were Taylor, Corbin and Colau with two each.
In the other classes, the Jefferson Lady Cougars defeated the John Marshall Lady Monarchs 6-1 in Class AAA to win their first softball title.
In double-A, the Herbert Hoover Lady Huskies came up from the losers’ bracket to defeat the Winfield Lady Generals 7-1 and 21-3 to claim their fifth consecutive state championship.
Wahama has collected a combined record of 56-2 in their championship winning seasons, with its two losses coming to defending AAA champion Cabell Midland and 2022’s AA runner-up Winfield — both on the road.
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Colton Jeffries can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100