Local softball teams ready for high school region finals
HUNTINGTON -- Three area teams hit the field Thursday hoping to earn regional titles and berths in the West Virginia high school softball tournament.
And each one -- Hurricane in Class AAA, Wayne in Class AA and Buffalo in Class A -- will be doing so at 6 p.m., Thursday, on their home fields.
In Class AAA, Hurricane's first-ever battle in a Region IV final will take place against St. Albans.
Hurricane, which comes into the matchup after beating Cabell Midland 6-5 in the region semis, is 29-6 and features Courtney Rogers, who is a powerful pitcher and the Redskins' best bat.
St. Albans has lost four games this season -- two of them against Hurricane, 9-0 and 13-0.
Hurricane coach Josh Caldwell said the wins are of little consequence now.
"St. Albans has got a team that can come here and win, so we cannot overlook them," Caldwell said. "They have the same ticket to punch as we do."
In Class AA, Wayne (25-6) is looking to make it back to the state tournament May 22-23 in Vienna, W.Va., for the second-straight year. The Pioneers captured the Class AA championship last season.
To do so, they will have to defeat an upstart Sissonville team who upset Herbert Hoover to advance to the Class AA, Region IV final.
In the regular season, Herbert Hoover defeated Sissonville (17-12) in a pair of one-run games, but the Indians won the game that mattered with a 7-3 victory in the regional semifinal.
Now, Wayne looks to avoid the same fate after sweeping Sissonville in the regular-season by scores of 9-0 and 5-1.
The Pioneers are led by junior pitcher Jessie Rowe and Marshall University recruit Jessica Watts, along with sophomores Kasey Endicott and Jacey Parsons.
Sissonville counters with pitcher Bekah Baldwin and emerging freshman Alexee Haynes, who is quickly becoming a rising star.
In Class A, Buffalo is also looking to defend its state championship and the Bison have been dominant behind Chelsey Parkins and Ali Burdette this season.
They will take on Doddridge County (19-9) for the right to return to Vienna.
The teams have not faced each other on the year. Buffalo comes in at 29-4 and has lost only once to Class A competition all season -- that being an 11-9 loss to Wheeling Central early in the year.