Wheeling Park Drops Softball Debut to Parkersburg
Patriots doomed by seven errors
ELM GROVE — The Wheeling Park softball team had just one day of practice on a real field prior to Wednesday night’s opener. The lack of quality prep time definitely made its presence felt.
The Patriots committed seven errors in dropping their season debut by a 9-3 count to Parkersburg at the I-470 J.B. Chambers Complex. Park took a 2-0 lead after one frame only to see the Big Reds score in five of the six remaining frames.
“Our defensive mistakes were definitely a major factor (Wednesday). Yesterday (Tuesday) was the first time we practiced on the field,” Park coach Pat Durkin said. “I think we are going to be a good fielding team. (Wednesday) was not the case.”
Park wasted no time grabbing the lead in the first frame. Shea Wright opened with a single followed by a Kelsey Chacalos sacrifice bunt. Catie Nesbitt coaxed a walk, setting the table for a two-run single froy Ashley Linder.
The balance of the night belonged to the Big Reds.
Parkersburg tallied an unearned run in the second, courtesy of three Park errors. The Big Reds took the lead for good with a two-spot in the third frame via a two-run single by starting pitcher MaKenzie Riddle and another Park miscue.
Trailing 4-2, the Patriots tallied one run in the fifth. Linder singled and scored on a Mahayla McCroskey single.
The Big Reds broke matters open with a four-run-sixth frame. Freshman catcher Emily Allen delivered the big blow, blasting a three-run homer over the right-center fence.
“We know our bats and defense will have to carry us this year. I was happy with both,” Parkersburg coach Jason Roberts said.
“I was also happy with MaKenzie’s pitching effort. She has five different pitches and used them all well.
“We love coming up here. Wheeling Park has a quality program. This is a nice way to start the season. We were solid in all phases.”
The Big Reds produced 11 hits and did not commit an error. Riddle went the distance in the circle, striking out four and walking a like amount. She scattered six hits.
Linder turned in a solid effort in the loss. She worked the first five innings before giving way to Kacy Long in the sixth.
Linder returned with one out in the inning and closed out the contest. She struck out four and did not issue a pass.
“I thought Ashley pitched well. We just didn’t give her support in the field,” Durkin said. “We didn’t play as we are capable of but I am glad to get a game in. Give Parkersburg credit. They played a solid game.”
Linder led the Patriots’ offensive attack with three singles. The hosts stranded seven runners.
Park travels to University this afternoon.
John Marshall 2
GLEN DALE — Grant Swift tossed five innings of relief but John Marshall fell in its season opener to Parkersburg.
Swift struck out five and walked four, while the Monarchs’ offense was led by Reed Wiley’s RBI double, along with Derrick Black’s RBI single.
John Marshall goes on the road Saturday to visit Morgantown.