Gallery by Karen Akers
South Charleston – Shady Spring started the way it did each of its regional games – fast.
Unfortunately the momentum came to a halt nearly as quickly as it was gained.
The Tigers stranded three runners in the first three innings of Wednesday afternoon’s Class AA state tournament game against Winfield, falling 5-0 to the Generals at Little Creek Park in South Charleston.
With the loss Shady falls into the losers bracket where it will face Herbert Hoover in an elimination game at 4:45 on Wednesday.
A one-out triple in the top of the first courtesy of Olivia Barnett had the Tigers primed to strike first but a groundout to Winfield pitcher Maci Boggess held Barnett at third before a strikeout ended the top half of the frame.
“We knew coming in there they’d be a fundamental team that would hit the ball hard and we were told coming in one through nine would be capable of putting it in play,” Shady head coach Donald Barnett said. “We told our girls (Winfield) did their job and we went a little backwards in how we’ve been hitting the ball. Part of that’s due to the good pitching we saw and the other is the lack of focus for whatever reason but we’ve got to do a better job in the box.”
While Shady failed to capitalize on its base runners, the Generals maximized their opportunities, swiping bags and moving along the bases to score on balls in play.
The first such instance came immediately after Shady squandered its first opportunity.
With one out, Boggess reached on an infield single, taking second and third on consecutive wild pitches and scoring when Kennedy Dean grounded out for the first of her three RBIs.
The trend carried to the third with Georgia Moulder singling to open the bottom of the frame and advancing to second on a sacrifice bunt. A wild pitch moved her to third and Dean was true again with an infield single to make it 2-0 Generals.
Meanwhile Shady struggled from the fourth inning on, securing just one base runner on a single from Hadley Wood. It was indicative of the day Boggess had in the circle for Winfield, fanning 15 batters in her four-hit shutout.
“She mixed her pitches well,” Barnett said. “She was inside, she was outside, she was high and she threw a nice changeup. She did a nice job for her team today. We unfortunately at times lost our focus and it looked like at times we didn’t know we had two strikes on us and we were looking at good pitches early. All those are things we kind of pride ourselves on not doing but wrong time wrong place for those kind of mistakes.”
Winfield sealed the coffin in the bottom of the fifth with Moulder, Boggess and Dean all reaching to open the frame. Dean’s hit led the charge, scoring Moulder and Lola Baber Chloe Kimble followed with RBIs to account for the final runs.”
The Tigers will now refocus faced with the task of knocking off the four-time defending state champion in Herbert Hoover. Should the Tigers win they’ll advance to Thursday to face the loser of Oak Glen-Winfield.
“We play a little travel ball with some of the girls from Herbert Hoover,” Barnett said. “We’ve known them for a couple of years and we know that’s another very well-coached team, very fundamental and there’s a reason they’re here every year. They’re consistently good and they execute well on both sides. Once again we’ve put ourselves in a spot where it’s do or die with our backs against the wall.”
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SS: 000 000 0 – 0 4 0
W: 101 030 x – 5 8 1
WP: Maci Boggess, LP: Paige Maynard
Hitting – SS: Olivia Barnett 2-3, Hadley Wood 1-3, Mallie Lawson 1-3; W: Georgia Moulder 2-4, Maci Boggess 1-3, Kennedy Dean 2-3 (3 RBI), Lola Baber 0-3 (RBI), Chloe Kimble 1-3 (2B, RBI), Kristen Hensley 1-3, Kennedy Schilling 1-2.