GLEN DALE - Using a patient approach at the plate that called for it to use the opposite field almost exclusively, the John Marshall softball team took the first step to what it hopes is another state tournament Tuesday.
The Monarchs (22-5) banged out 12 hits and Alyssa Blake struck out five as they opened West Virginia Class AAA Region I, Section IV play with a 9-4 victory against Morgantown (12-11) at John Marshall High School. John Marshall looks to eliminate the Mohigans today on their home field.
"We preach it a lot and we work on it a lot," JM coach Ed West said. "I'm hoping that they're learning to do it.
"We did have a lot of hits to right-center."
Four consecutive hits combined with a pair of errors shot the Monarchs to a 3-0, first-inning lead. Sissy George drove in one with an infield single and Jessica Kinnick plated another. Before the Mohigans could get settled in, John Marshall made it 4-0 in the second as Bailey Filben led off with a single, stole second and scored on Jackie Gellner's double to right-center, her second in as many innings.
" I think that first inning ... errors have been what has killed us," Morgantown coach Lorri Lipscomb said. "But at least in this game we fought back and didn't allow it to snowball, which is an improvement."
That the Mohigans did.
No. 9 hitter Haley Perdue reached on a one-out error and Kaylee Anderson singled and took second as the Monarchs tried to cut down the former at third. After Blake recorded a strikeout, Heidi Hormell tripled to right-center field to bring both in and cut the lead in half.
Morgantown wasn't finished yet, adding another in the fourth to make it 4-3. Sara Tekavec had a two-out double that was followed by another JM error and an RBI single from Perdue.
"I knew they were a pretty quality team," West said. "We beat them up here in the regular season like 5-3. They had a decent record, beat some (good) teams and lost some close games.
"But overall I think we're a better-hitting (team)."
That proved to be true as the Monarchs took control with a five-run fourth inning that included five hits. A walk and two infield hits loaded the bases with nobody out before Morgantown pitcher Devan Perdue recorded a strikeout.
However, Maggie Kaylor singled in two, George doubled in a pair and Hannah Rogerson closed the outburst with a run-scoring double.
That was enough for George, though Morgantown did scratch through for a run in the top of the seventh. Anderson singled leading off and came home on Nicole Walker's single with two outs.
"It will be nice for us to have a home game," Lipscomb said. "Not saying it's going to give us an advantage, but it will save us a bus trip.
"Last year we had to play them five times and each time it was a tight game. It's getting (my team) to have a little more confidence."