By Carl Holcomb
Moorefield Examiner –
The Yellow Jackettes swept East Hardy to garner their third straight Class A Region II Section 4 Championship with victories of 8-0 and 13-4.
Moorefield needs two more wins to earn a third consecutive trip to the state tournament in Vienna.
“It means a lot to these girls. We had a really good group of seniors last year and we have just as good a group of seniors this year who have stepped up to the plate,” Moorefield Coach Tammie Ayers remarked.
“Our pitching was strong this evening with Brooke Riggleman. Contrary to last night, we came out hitting the ball tonight. I told them we needed to do that, we couldn’t wait until the fourth or fifth inning to start hitting. We needed to hit right off the bat. We did that and had a couple good line drives and good base hits to score some runs. They look at me with tears in their eyes most of the time after we get a win like this. They’ve got a goal chart. Ashley Rexrode made us a goal chart and state is our goal. They know next Tuesday is my last treatment, so we’ve got timelines and the end is in sight for both things.”
Moorefield (21-6) won all four games against the Lady Cougars this year.
“[A] head game, but they were better this year,” East Hardy Coach Calvin Mongold stated regarding the struggle in the rivalry competition.
In the first game of the best two out of three series on Tuesday, there was no score through the first four and a half innings with Moorefield’s Danica Rogers and East Hardy’s Jodie Funkhouser battling in a pitchers’ duel.
East Hardy leadoff senior batter Rayann Foltz commenced the game with a walk, then after a groundout and stolen base, Rogers notched two strikeouts.
Moorefield’s leadoff senior batter Brooklin Gilbert hit a sharp ball off the glove of Rayann Foltz and safely reached first base, then Funkhouser issued a walk to senior Beth Cook.
East Hardy senior Jade Foltz caught two straight fly balls, then a pop-up ended the inning.
No one reached the bases for the Lady Cougars in the second inning and Rogers got one more strikeout.
Rogers took first base on a walk, then was stranded.
East Hardy (10-12) went down in order again in the third inning as Rogers added two more strikeouts.
Moorefield tried a two-out rally as Tara George singled down the left field line, then Brooke Riggleman hit a liner off the glove of senior third baseman Autumn Mathias, but Funkhouser closed the door with a strikeout.
Rogers started the fourth inning with her sixth strikeout, then the defense got the next two outs.
“It kind of had me a little worried there with no scoring. We didn’t hit the ball very well, but we played good defense. I knew if we just hung in there and Dani [Rogers] kept pitching as well as she did, that eventually our hitting would come through. We came alive. We practice, practice, practice hitting drills and sometimes I think it drives them absolutely nuts. I kept telling them line drives, line drives. It feels pretty good to win and finally have softball weather. We look forward to playing East Hardy over there. East Hardy gives us a run when we play on their field, so we’ll just be ready to play and wait for the next step,” Coach Ayers commented.
Sumer Flinn hit a one-out single for the Yellow Jackettes, but stayed on base with a strikeout and groundout.
East Hardy senior Ruby Fridley patiently drew a walk in the top of the fifth inning, then Rogers got a strikeout and the defense picked up two outs.