GLEN DALE - After a hard-fought, 2-1 victory against Morgantown in the first game of the John Marshall Invitational, Monarchs coach Ed West was caught off guard by how quickly his team responded in the championship game Saturday evening.
It took just one inning for JM to build a double-digit lead as the Monarchs went on to win their own invitational, 12-1, in three innings against Cameron.
''I was a little bit surprised with the finish of that game,'' West admitted. ''I thought we were better than Cameron, obviously, but I didn't expect a three-inning game. They helped us out with a couple fielding errors and we were hitting the ball hard, next thing you know, we got 12 runs.''
John Marshall first baseman Amy Rotriga stretches to make a catch and record an out on Cameron’s Bailey Wood during action of their game Saturday in Glen Dale.
With one on and one out for the Monarchs (4-0), reigning state Gatorade Player of the Year Kylie Howard stepped up to the plate and blasted a line drive deep into center field for a triple as Abbi Namath crossed home to give JM a 1-0 lead.
After Howard scored on a Sissy George double, Amy Rotriga brought in George and Morgan Watson on a line drive into right field and it was 4-0 Monarchs.
Jackie Gellner blasted another hit into left field, which cleared the way for scores from Rotriga and Lexi Benline to stretch the margin to 7-0.
By the time the inning was over, the Monarchs nearly went through their entire batting order twice on the way to totaling 10 hits.
''They were hitting the ball real well, putting the bat on the ball,'' West said. ''That's a good thing. In the first game, we only scored two runs, but we had zero strikeouts. Every girl in the lineup hit the ball. When you do that, you put the pressure on the defense by making them field the ball and you have a chance.''
That pressure was the Dragon's undoing as the young team was unaware of how to counter the Monarchs attack.
''When you play the defending state champions, these things are going to happen,'' Cameron coach Mark Witzberger said. ''(My team wasn't) really sure how to handle the situation. They're really inexperienced. They'll learn from it.''
An Ashley Berardi groundout in the top of the second allowed Marissa Meintel to score, but that was the lone offensive production for the Dragons as the game was called after three.
Alyssa Blake picked up the victory for John Marshall, while Cameron's Linda Hall took the loss.
''They have everybody back, but one,'' Witzberger pointed out. ''And they have a couple other girls that are in there that are really good. We graduated five starters. I knew we were going to be in a rebuilding year. I didn't expect us to go out there and play the way that we did. We're capable of playing better. But we're real young. We're inexperienced and it's growing pains.''
For the returning W.Va. Class AAA state champions, West is happy with where the team is early in the season.
''I think we're playing well,'' he said. ''We had two quality wins last week (against Lincoln Memorial and Wayne County). Then (Saturday) was a quality win against Morgantown, a good team, and then Cameron, they didn't play their best game, but that happens sometimes. We just have to stay focused and continue to execute and we'll be fine.''
John Marshall 2
GLEN DALE - Kylie Howard finished with three hits as John Marshall beat Morgantown.
Hannah Rogerson and Alissa Blake both added a hit and scored a run for the Monarchs.