VIENNA -Wheeling Park softball coach Dee Davis said it the simplest way she knew how.
''If you can't hit the ball, you can't win,'' she noted.
That was the case in a Class AAA elimination game at the West Virginia State Softball Tournament held at Jackson Memorial Park in Vienna as the Patriots were knocked out by Musselman, 6-1.
Photo by Jeff Baughan/Parkersburg News & Sentinel/Wheeling Park’s Keleigh Sidon asks for time after diving back into first base as Lincoln’s Faith Huffman applies the tag Thursday in the West Virginia Class AAA State Tournament in Vienna.
Park (19-8) was forced into an elimination contest after a 2-0 loss to eventual state champion Lincoln County earlier Thursday.
''We didn't have our bats,'' Davis said. ''We scored one run in two games and that's not us. Plus we took too many strike threes. Then we got down on ourselves on the defensive end. I'd say our hitting is what killed us in these two games.''
The game was Davis' last as coach of the Patriots. She, along with assistant coach Donnie Newland, put in their resignations before the state tournament began. Davis also stepped down as the girls' basketball coach at Park.
It was also the last outing for Patriots' seniors Carly Greer, Ashleigh Sidon, Keleigh Sidon, Kelsi Johnson, Samantha Criswell and Sarah Long.
''They're good kids,'' Davis said. ''Donnie and I loved coaching them. They were a good group of seniors.''
A season after advancing to its first state championship game in school history, the Patriots arrived in Vienna with high expectations.
''Last year, we didn't really have that high of expectations,'' Davis said. ''We just wanted to get here. This year, we came to win it. We did worse than we did with no expectations. It was just our bats.''
The Applemen (27-5), who won 15 straight entering the state tournament, got on the board early as leadoff batter Tori Butler, who was walked to start the game, scored on an error followed by an RBI double by Brittnay Ingram to give Musselman a 2-0 lead after one inning.
Winning pitcher Taylor Stocks retired the side in both the first and second before No. 9 hitter Colleen Tracy doubled in the third to give Park its first base runner.
Tracy was stranded at third as Stocks got a strikeout to end the inning. The sophomore finished with eight Ks for the game.
Park left the bases loaded in the fourth, but had another opportunity to cut into the deficit in the fifth.
Long led off the inning with a double to left field and advanced to third on a Johnson hit. Greer then flew out to center and Long was tagged out at the plate as she tried to score.
Musselman began to add insurance runs in the bottom of the frame.
Butler, who reached on her second hit of the game, scored on a botched run down attempt and Haley Fischer, who reached on an error, crossed the plate on a wild pitch. Brittany Ingram drove in Stocks with a hit to make it 5-0.
Morgan Karnell plated Ashleigh Sidon, who went from first to third on a sacrifice bunt from her twin sister Keleigh, in the sixth for Park's lone run.
The Applemen picked up another run in the bottom of the frame on a Stocks RBI single.
Junior Skylar Carrington took the loss for the Patriots as she allowed four hits and one earned run.
''Our sticks weren't going,'' Davis said. ''Our third and fourth batters are really good and they both struggled. Pitching was good. Our offense was really bad. (Musselman has) a great pitcher, but nothing we haven't faced in our season.''
W.Va. Class AAA
Lincoln County 2,
Wheeling Park 0
VIENNA - Brooke West tossed a complete-game shutout as Lincoln County beat Wheeling Park.
The Panthers (31-8) picked up two runs in the fourth as Kayla Jeffers drove in Faith Huffman on a hit down the first baseline and Ashley Huffman plated Whitney McKay on a sacrifice fly.
Greer took the loss for the Patriots.
W.Va. Class A
Buffalo 6, Magnolia 0
VIENNA - Ali Burdette limited Magnolia to one hit as eventual champion Buffalo knocked Magnolia out of the winner's bracket game Thursday at the Class A state softball tournament.
Davianne Croasmun had Magnolia's lone hit.
Mallory Chapman took the loss, but pitched well, striking out six.
Moorefield 1, Magnolia 0
VIENNA - Moorefield eliminated Magnolia in the Class A state softball tournament behind the strong pitching of Danica Rogers.
Mallory Chapman was even better, working a one hitter and striking out 12, including eight of the first nine batters she faced.
But Beth Cook, who had the lone hit, scored the game's only run in the fourth.
Ashley Moore, Audrey Gibb and Stephanie Mullett had hits for Magnolia,