Wayne returns to title game
VIENNA, W.Va. -- Wayne put an emphatic statement Wednesday night on its run back to the Class AA softball state championship game.
Wayne scored 10 runs in the third inning on seven hits and four James Monroe errors to earn a 14-1 win in a game with a wild ending at Jackson Park.
A lightning delay halted the game with the 13-run difference at about 8:30 p.m. After conferring with officials from the WVSSAC, there was a mutual agreement between opposing coaches to forfeit the final at-bat in the fifth inning and call it complete.
"We came out and took care of what we needed to," Wayne coach Tish Smith said. "It feels good to get to relax and know that someone has to beat us twice tomorrow. Hopefully, we come out and take care of business."
The Pioneers sent 15 batters to the plate in the third inning.
Following an RBI triple by Emily Fry, Wayne (28-6) used a James Monroe error and six consecutive singles to break the game open.
After a scoreless first inning, things unraveled quickly for James Monroe in the second inning.
Starting pitcher Mikayla Wickline had six illegal pitches in the first two innings, including four in the first six pitches of the second inning before being pulled for Becca Ratliff.
Ratliff fared no better, allowing four runs in the second, including the run charged to Wickline.
The Mavericks committed seven errors in the contest.
"The illegal pitches definitely changed the complexion," Smith said. "We got people on base and started putting the pressure on. It was good to see that performance going into tomorrow."
Thursday, Wayne will take on the winner of Ritchie County and James Monroe, who meet at 10 a.m. in an elimination game, for the championship.
In the opening game of the Class AA tournament, Wayne met with Ritchie County in a rematch of last year's state championship.
Wayne led 2-1 before breaking the game open in the fourth inning with a pair of runs to lead to the 4-1 win.
Allie Maynard led off the frame with a double and Tasha Maynard brought her home with an RBI single. Emily Thompson, who reached on an error following Maynard's double, scored on a wild pitch.
Three of Wayne's four runs in the game scored on wild pitches.
The Pioneers never trailed, jumping out to a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first after Emily Fry scored on Kenna Delancey's first wild pitch of the game. Fry had reached on an infield single to leadoff and advanced to third when Jessica Watts reached on an error following a sacrifice attempt.
Wayne had a chance to break things open in the first, but a strikeout with no outs and runners on second and third helped Delancey get a key first out. Following the wild pitch to score Fry, Allie Maynard flew out to right field and Ritchie County's Vanessa Tallman gunned out Watts at the plate to end the threat.
The Rebels scored their run in the top of the second when Micah Ray was hit by a pitch and advanced to second on a sacrifice. An illegal pitch by Wayne pitcher Jessie Rowe -- her third in the first two innings -- allowed Ray to move to third and she scored on an RBI single by Michaela Smith.
The Pioneers regained the lead in the bottom of the third when Watts doubled and went to third on an error by Smith in left field. She then scored on a wild pitch.
Ritchie County finished with four errors in the loss.
WAYNE 04(10) 0x -- 14 8 0
JAMES MONROE 001 0x -- 1 6 7
Rowe and Thompson. Wickline, Ratliff (2), Wickline (3), Jackson (3), Ratliff (4) and Gillespie.
Hitting: (W) Fry 3B, RBI; Parsons RBI; Endicott RBI; A. Maynard RBI; Thompson RBI; T. Maynard 2-3, 2 RBIs. (JM) Hersmann 2-2, RBI.
RITCHIE COUNTY 010 000 0 -- 1 4 4
WAYNE 101 200 x -- 4 6 2
Delancey, Ray (5) and Burgess. Rowe and Thompson.
Hitting: (RC) Smith RBI. (W) Watts 2B; A. Maynard 2B; T. Maynard RBI.