New Richmond – Due to the pandemic, sophomores around the state are playing their first season of high school softball. For Wyoming East the youth is evident.
The sophomore-heavy Lady Warriors committed nine errors – seven in the first two innings – dropping a 7-0 decision to Chapmanville Friday in New Richmond.
For the visiting Tigers a quick start was welcome after a gauntlet of a week that featured matchups against Lincoln County, Cabell Midland and Nitro.
“We’ve looked bad,” Chapmanville head coach Ronnie Ooten said. “We’ve been quarantined for over a week and came back Tuesday with no practices. We tried to get things together and we played three tough games and go to Winfield tomorrow. It was nice to start hitting the ball though.”
After swinging and missing on the first pitch Chapmanville wasted little time making contact as Ashleigh Mahan parked the second pitch of the game on the opposite side of the fence in left centerfield, giving the Tigers a 1-0 lead.
After East pitcher Olivia Hylton rebounded with a strikeout, her defense failed to help. An error at second base allowed Sierra Cook to reach and she later scored when Erica Sigmon reached on an error at shortstop. A dropped third strike allowed Chapmanville runners on the corners with a 2-0 advantage, but a groundout later diffused the situation.
Matters worsened in the second when when Latesha Perry drew a leadoff walk and advanced when the Lady Warriors were unable to field a bunt attempt. Four errors in the inning, all in the infield, resulted in three Chapmanville runs and a 5-0 lead after two innings.
“We started hitting the ball finally,” Ooten said. “You hit and you make some people do something. “We haven’t hit all year to be honest with you but when you put it in play they got to do something with it.”
After the second the East defense found its groove, committing just two errors the rest of the way but already in a hole the offense couldn’t do much to make up the deficit. That was evident as the hosts tallied just one hit – a Kayley Bane double – through six innings.
“We faced a better pitcher last night and hit the ball,” East head coach Doc Warner said. “We faced two actually, but we’re just in a funk. We’re young. We have some kids that hit the ball hard every time up and some that don’t.”
The Tigers tacked on runs in the fifth and sixth – both largely the result of errors – and threatened to run rule East.
Down 7-0 in the bottom of the seventh, Bane was hit by a pitch and advanced to third when Andrea Laxton crushed a double into left field, but a force at the plate, a strikeout and a groundout preserved the shutout for the Tigers.
In the win Cook struck out 12 batters.
“She’s a really good pitcher,” Ooten said. “She’s been a super one for us. She’s played since she was real little. We lost last year’s season but we didn’t know if she’d play this year but we’re glad she did. She’s just super.”
Wyoming East drops to 9-9 and will travel to Midland Trail for a doubleheader on Tuesday. Chapmanville will host Winfield on Saturday.
C: 230 110 0 – 7 5 0
WE: 000 000 0 – 0 2 9
Pitching – C: Sierra Cook and Ashleigh Mahan; WE: Olivia Hylton and Kayley Bane. WP: Cook, LP: Hylton. Hitting – C: Mahan 2-3 (HR 2 RBI), Cook 2-4 (RBI), Baylee Belcher 1-4 (2B); WE: Bane 1-2 (2B), Andrea Laxon 1-3 (2B).