NEW MARTINSVILLE - John Marshall shortstop Sissy George has really come into her own at her new position.
A first team all-state center fielder last year, George displayed why she is so valuable to the Monarchs' infield this season on several occasions in Thursday's matchup against Magnolia, none more than the double play she turned in the bottom of the seventh to end any hopes of a Blue Eagles comeback as the Monarchs earned a 4-1 victory.
''She's been doing that all year long,'' JM coach Ed West said of George. ''She plays a heckuva shortstop. If she's not the best shortstop in the state, I haven't seen one better, I'll tell you that. She's just a really nice player.''
Photo by Tony Viola/John Marshall’s Sissy George slides into second as Magnolia’s Abby Durig tries to gain control of the ball, while Kasey Hilpert looks on.
With two on and no outs, Magnolia starting and losing pitcher Mallory Chapman hit a grounder right to George, who tagged out Ashley Moore on her way to third before she threw the ball to first to complete the double play.
George also scored two runs for the Monarchs (18-5) and finished with two hits.
''Sissy is a really good athlete,'' Magnolia first-year coach Dillon Mangino said. ''She hits the ball good as well.''
George wasn't the only player both coaches praised after the game. Chapman was also the topic of discussion.
''Chapman is one of the best pitchers in the state whether it'd be (class) A or AAA,'' Mangino said. ''That showed (Thursday) because John Marshall is a good team and she pitched well against them. She's done it all year against teams like Musselman, Ravenswood, and Lincoln. She's a workhorse for us. She works really hard and she gets everything she deserves.''
Despite taking the loss, Chapman retired six on strikes, including back-to-back Ks in the fifth with two runners in scoring position to end the inning.
''Their pitcher is a really nice player,'' West said. ''She's a good pitcher, a good hitter. I think their team is much improved. I saw them play last year and it seemed like Chapman was all they had. Now they have other kids making plays and putting the bat on the ball. Mangino is doing a real nice job.''
Magnolia (11-8) took an early 1-0 lead in the second when a Stephanie Mullett hit drove in Davianne Croasman. Two outs later, the Blue Eagles had the bases loaded but stranded all three baserunners. In total, Magnolia left seven on base.
''We would have liked to get more than one run in that situation, obviously, but we just didn't have timely hitting,'' Mangino said. ''We didn't hit in bunches.''
John Marshall did as it answered in the third.
George got the offense going with a hit into left field followed by an error on the shortstop that allowed Jessica Kinnick to reach first. Hannah Rogerson then hit one into shallow left to score George to tie the game 1-1.
Winning pitcher Alyssa Blake, who came on in relief of Megan Wise in the second, blasted a double into deep right to drive in Kinnick and Rogerson.
''She's been hitting the ball good,'' West said. ''She's a streaky hitter. She'll have two or three games in a row where she'll get two or three hits. Her bat is coming around, her pitching is good.
''She did a real nice job. Megan does fine if she doesn't have control problems. She walked a couple that inning and it just didn't look like she was going to have it, so I thought I better get her out of there.''
Rogerson drove in George in the fifth for the Monarchs' final run.
''I thought our girls played hard,'' Mangino said. ''They competed. John Marshall's a good team. They hit the ball well.''
Paden City 15, Clay-Battelle 2
BLACKSVILLE - Graeson Baker went 2 for 3 with a single and a triple and drove in four runs to lead the Wildcats.
Amber Neff (three strikeouts, one walk) picked up the victory.
Taylor Cosper had a triple and Abby Still and Shelby Gatian collected RBI singles.
Katlyn Casino had a triple, single and RBI for Clay-Battelle.
Indian Creek 7, Martins Ferry 1
WINTERSVILLE - Paige Geanangel picked up her 11th victory of the season, striking out 11 without a walk in Indian Creek's victory.
She faced just two over the limit as Creek improved to 11-1.
Catcher Abby Orr had three singles and a double, Geanangel had a double with two singles and Alexis Moore doubled.
Morgan Stalder had a single, one of three Purple Riders hits and drove in the only Martins Ferry (11-4) run.
Steubenville 5, Steubenville Catholic 1
STEUBENVILLE - Na Banks had two singles and a double to lead Big Red to the victory.
Mytia Barker doubled and drove in two runs and Tenia Barker had a double that plated a run.
Nicca Mirabella had two hits to lead Steubenville Catholic.
Toronto 10, Weir 8
WEIRTON - Emily Anderson had three singles and two RBI to lead Toronto to the victory.
Abbey Pratt paced Weir with two singles and a RBI.
Bridgeport 10, Bishop Donahue 0
MCMECHEN - Haylee Bowers hurled a four-hit shutout and also singled, doubled and drove in a pair of runs in the Bulldogs' victory.
Caitlyn Kroll doubled and drove in three runs and Carrie Renzler had two singles.
Brooke 4, Beaver Local 1
CALCUTTA - Katie Castellucci fired a three hitter, with eight strikeouts as Brooke took the victory.
Taylor Simala had two singles and a RBI, Michaela Hinerman doubled and Krista D'Ullisse and Cassie Camilletti had run-producing singles.
Maranda Kiddey had a double and single for Beaver Local.
Edison 1, Union Local 0
MORRISTOWN - Charli McConnell had a single and drove in the game's lone run in a pitcher's duel.
Calli Westfall picked up the victory, scattering four hits with seven strikeouts and one walk.
Alli Delaney took the loss, with three strikeouts and four walks. She also had two of Union Local's four hits.
Wheeling Central 15, Conotton Valley 0
WHEELING - Madison Basinger struck out five with no walks and held Conotton Valley to just two hits in the victory.
Cara Stahl and Bailey Rohm had two hits each. Joni Zavolta and Allie Cook had a triple and Sydney Bennington doubled.
Shania Reichman had both hits for Conotton Valley, a double and a single.
Parkersburg South 7, Linsly 0
PARKERSBURG - The Patriots were nearly perfect in singles play, winning three of four matches by an 8-0 count in downing the visiting Cadets.
Linsly's Westen Mead fell 8-4 but the other three singles seed were shut out. South went on to sweep the doubles matches.
Linsly is now 9-2 on the season.
Linsly 6, Parkersburg South 1
PARKERSBURG - Linsly took three of four singles matches, led by No. 1 seed Jackie McDermott's 8-2 victory over Regan Hanlon to improve to 5-8 on the season.
The Cadets also swept all three doubles matches, highlighted by an impressive 9-8 (5) victory by the No. 2 doubles team of Madison Helmick and Morgan Carlisle against Madison Matheny and Ally Monroe.