GLEN DALE - All Wheeling Park softball coach Dee Davis wanted was a chance. A chance to unseat favorite John Marshall and its 29-game winning streak in the final of the West Virginia Class AAA Region One, Section One Final.
Thanks to a couple early Brooke errors that took the pressure off Tuesday at John Marshall High School, combined with a 12-hit attack and stellar pitching from Carley Greer, the Patriots have earned that opportunity. Greer scattered four hits while Kayla Kimmins and Skylar Carrington drove in two runs each as Wheeling Park (17-6) eliminated the Bruins (12-19) by a 10-0 count in six innings.
The Patriots will need to beat the Monarchs twice today in order to advance to regional action. First pitch is scheduled for 5 p.m., with a second game, if necessary, immediately following.
Wheeling Park’s Kristin Slater rips a single Tuesday during action of her team’s Region One, Section One softball semifinal against Brooke.
''After playing 19 innings (Monday) I didn't know how they were going to come out, but they did pretty well,'' Davis said of her players. ''It took them a while to warm up, but once they did they hit the ball pretty well.''
The Patriots scored a pair of unearned runs in each of the first two innings before blowing this one wide open with a five-run fifth inning. Emily Puskarich, who had three hits, and Marissa Tucker singled, before Brooke pitcher Kaylee Kuchinski retired the next two batters.
It appeared at that point the Bruins would get out of the inning unscathed, but the next four hitters followed with RBI hits. Kimmins plated two with a single. Kelsey Johnson brought one home with a base hit. Ashleigh Sidon tripled in yet another, and Carrington finished it off with a single, her second hit and RBI.
''The difference is, (Monday) we made all the plays defensively,'' Brooke coach Mike Wagner said. ''(Tuesday) we didn't make the simple plays to win a game.
''When you give a good team extra outs, they're going to take advantage of it and score runs. A credit to Wheeling Park, that is what they did.''
Prior to that explosion, though, the Bruins had a chance down 2-0 in the fourth. Samantha Cusick reached on an error and was advanced by a sacrifice bunt. Michaela Hinerman followed with a single and Kelsey Welch walked to load the bases.
In her only pinch of the day, Greer bore down. She struck out Kuchinski swinging and got Courtney Rine to foul out to first baseman Carrington to end the inning.
The Patriots put the finishing touches on an early ending with two runs in the top of the sixth inning. Puskarich and Tucker started it off with a single and double back-to-back, and both eventually scored on an error.
The Bruins tried to keep the game going in the bottom half but were snuffed out on an unusual double play that went 9-2 and ended with Park catcher Ashleigh Sidon running down Cusick after a strong throw from right fielder Allie Dailer made her stop between third and home.
''I'm really proud of these girls,'' Wagner said. ''The difference between now and the beginning of the season is night and day.
''They played hard all season.''
The Patriots hope to play hard past today. The Monarchs beat the Patriots 5-4 in 12 innings Monday.
''We're going to be in another dogfight,'' Davis said. ''All we can do is go after them.''