W.Va. Takes All-Star Title

WHEELING -With one mighty swing of her bat, Mallory Chapman left her mark on the OVAC All-Star Softball Game Thursday night.

With her West Virginia team trailing 7-5, the left-handed hitting Magnolia grad sent a 3-2 pitch from Beaver Local’s Maranda Kiddey over the fence in straightaway centerfield to give the Mountaineers a come-from-behind, 8-7, victory over Ohio before a huge turnout on Lisa’s Field at the I-470 J.B. Chambers Complex.

“I knew it was a 3-2 count and she (Kiddey) had to give me something to hit,” Chapman, a Wheeling Jesuit University recruit, said of her 19th career high school home run. “I was just being aggressive at the plate, and it paid off.

“It’s a good feeling,” she said of the team’s win. “These past four years have been really fun and I love our team. There was no way better to end it than with a win.”

It didn’t look as though West Virginia was going to get that ‘W’ as the Buckeyes, who led 2-0 after one inning, rallied from a 5-2 deficit with a run in the bottom of the sixth and four in the seventh for a 7-5 advantage.

Hannah Absalom, St. John Central’s three-time all-stater, chopped a two-out single through the left side of the infield to get Ohio to within 5-3. She then stole second and went to third when the ball got away, but could advance no further.

The Buckeyes recorded five straight hits to open the seventh. Kiddey ignited the uprising with a leadoff single to right. Indian Creek’s Alexis Monroe singled inside the third base bag as Kiddey hustled to third. Monroe alertly took second on the throw to third. River’s Gabby Goudy laid down a bunt that was fielded and threw late to first as Kiddey scored. Monroe raced home when the ball was mishandled, tying the game. Buckeye Local’s Karlee Leonard laced a triple to the gap in right-center as Goudy scurried around the bases to give Ohio a 6-5 edge. On the very next pitch, Cambridge’s Hallie Stocker singled to center as Leonard scored to make it 7-5.

After Kiddey recorded the first out in the top of the eighth, John Marshall’s Sissy George legged out an infield single.

Left-handed hitting Ashleigh Sidon, of Wheeling Park, looped her second single of the game to left, setting the stage for Chapman’s heroics.

“Overall, I thought it was a well-played game,” West Virginia head coach Ed West, of John Marshall, said. “I thought all of the pitchers pitched well, and I think each team made a couple of mistakes that allowed the other a run or two.

“But, other than that, I’m glad to come away with a win,” he said with a smile.

The Buckeyes had one last chance in the ninth as St. Clairsville’s Lauren Figura singled down the rightfield line leading off. She gave way to courtesy runner Maddy Gulan, who went to second on a wild pitch and third on a groundout. She would be stranded there as Chapman, who started inside the circle and worked the first three innings, got a game-ending strikeout to also earn the save.

“It’s an all-star game. What more could you ask for,” Ohio and Steubenville Big Red head coach Gus DiMarzio said. “It was a fun game to watch and it was an enjoyable game to coach.”

Madonna’s Amanda Paul had a run-scoring double for the Mountaineers, while Chapman also singled. Wheeling Park’s Kelsi Johnson had a pair of singles and George drove in a run with a bases-loaded walk.

Figura led all hitters in the game with two singles, a double and two runs batted in. Union Local’s Cori Medley had a triple.

Absalom struck out four and didn’t walk a batter in her three-inning stint. Goudy had a pair of Ks and three free passes in her trio of frames, while Kiddey logged a 2-2 line.

Chapman finished with eight strikeouts and no walks. Brooke’s Kaylee Kuchinski pitched the middle four innings to get the win. She fanned five and didn’t walk a batter.

OVAC Player of the Year Awards went to Absalom (Class A); Wheeling Central’s Madison Basinger (Class 2A); Chapman (Class 3A); Harrison Central’s Katie Ellzy (Class 4A); and Indian Creek’s Paige Geanangel (Class 5A). The Coach of the Year was John Marshall’s West.