Dragons Win Sectional Title
Cameron entered the West Virginia Class A, Region One, Section Two softball tournament on a mission.
That mission was to dominate, wrap up its third consecutive crown and get ready for next week’s regional tournament.
Following a three-day sweep in which Coach Mark Witzberger’s Dragons scored 38 runs and pounded out 32 hits, that is exactly what the Marshall County squad did.
Sophomore Devan Shields fired a three-hitter, fanning 12 and walking five, while Cameron collected 12 hits and took advantage of six Valley errors in rolling to a 10-5 victory against the Lumberjills in a sectional championship contest at New Martinsville.
The victory puts Witzberger’s 18-6 record squad into Thursday afternoon’s regional semifinal against either Wheeling Central or Weirton Madonna at Lisa’s Field at the I-470 Complex. The Maroon Knights and Blue Dons will square off for the Section One crown this morning at 11 at Benwood City Park.
”We have lost to Wheeling Central in the regional semi’s the last two years, but we know that it is going to be tough no matter who we play next week,” Witzberger said.
”We haven’t had many good practices on our field, but we are hoping to get in a few this coming week. We have had some real good competition the last couple of nights and we showed we can battle, hopefully that will help prepare us also.”
Unlike the first two days, Cameron was able to get something going early, pushing across two runs in both the first and third frames. Kelsey Allen led off the first with a base hit and moved to second on a passed ball.
With the infield drawn in, Kayla McConnell singled past second for a run and a 1-0 lead.
Morgan Hughes added a run-scoring single to make it 2-0.
A pair of walks and Allie Weber’s two-out, two-strike double to right field knotted the count for the Lumberjills in the top of the third, however, just as they did in the first, a pair of errors killed the designated guests in the third.
Allen had a run-scoring fielder’s choice before Lauren Siburt doubled with two outs and scored on a throwing error for a 4-2 count.
Cameron scored another run in the fourth before Valley scored a pair of unearned runs on a throwing error to cut the margin to just one at 5-4 in the top of the fifth.
Jacklyn Peterson and McConnell added RBI doubles in the fifth and sixth innings to lead a five-run outburst for the Dragons to put things away.
”We were able to string some hits together and keep our confidence up,” Witzberger added. ”Meghan Marsh is our No. 9 hitter and she really got us going.
”She hits last because it is like having two leadoff hitters when we turn the batting order over and come back through. Base running has also bee a key and we have at least five girls with the green light to do what they want on the bases.
”Lauren Siburt had a couple of big delayed steals for us, just like she did on Thursday.
”We made a couple of mistakes in the field, but the girls rallied and made up for them with some big plays. We also gave them a few runs, but managed to respond and battle back each time.”
McConnell singled, doubled and chased home a pair of runs while Hughes had two singles and two RBI for the winners.
Sammy Frye ripped a seventh-inning RBI triple for Valley, which battled back through the loser’s bracket and defeated Paden City 8-3 earlier in the day to earn their title game berth.
Shields capped a fine tournament, and during three days allowed just eight hits while striking out 37 and walking just eight.