Redskins win first title in softball
VIENNA, W.Va. -- All season long, the talk surrounding Hurricane's softball team was about its potent offense.
When the season and a Class AAA state title were on the line Thursday, defense and the pitching of Courtney Rogers proved most valuable.
Cassi Sargent spearheaded the offense and Rogers shut down Wheeling Park for the second consecutive day as Hurricane earned its first softball state title with a 5-0 win over the Patriots.
"We've taken some heat over sectionals and regionals for making some errors, but I thought in this game, we stepped up and made some fantastic plays," Hurricane coach Josh Caldwell said.
The benchmark of Hurricane's season was that no matter what the situation or where the team was in its batting order, everyone had the ability to make a play.
That was certainly true in the state tournament when the Redskins showed how complete they are.
Whether it was Maddie Hebb's over-the-fence catch in foul territory or the play of Sargent and Madi Casto in the middle of the defense, Hurricane's players answered the call when their number was called.
"That's what is tough about our team," Caldwell said. "Amber (Null) yesterday, Maddie Hebb had a big hit, anybody in our lineup can get up and be the one. We've talked about when it's your time to answer the bell."
On Wednesday, it was the bottom of the order that picked up the slack as Null had the game-winner in the final inning during Hurricane's 2-1 win over Wheeling Park.
The middle of the Redskins' lineup made sure there would be no runs produced in a final at-bat on Thursday.
Sargent started the scoring with an RBI triple to score Nicole Pierson in the third inning and Rogers followed with a run-scoring single to left field to give Hurricane a 2-0 cushion.
The tandem of Sargent and Rogers struck again in almost carbon-copy fashion in the fifth inning. After Casto reached on an error, Sargent ripped a double to left-center field to score her. Rogers followed with an RBI double to the fence in right-center to double the lead.
Sargent finished the game 2-for-3 while reaching base in all four plate appearances.
"It hasn't hit me yet that we won," Sargent said. "Seeing everybody dogpile, I just couldn't believe that we did it."
An error in the sixth inning allowed the Redskins to score another insurance run and set the final score.
It was plenty of cushion for Rogers, who continued to dominate Wheeling Park, much like Wednesday when she allowed just one hit in the close win.
In the title game, Rogers scattered five hits -- two in the final inning -- while striking out four, including Wheeling Park's Kelly Albers with the final out to set off a wild celebration that sent catcher Linzie Reynolds flying into Rogers' arms near the circle.
In addition to Sargent, Pierson finished 2-for-3 on the day, as did Hebb, who also snagged a line drive and stepped on first for a key double play after Wheeling Park had runners on first and second with no outs in the seventh inning.
Hurricane became the seventh team in eight years from Region IV to win the Class AAA title.
WHEELING PARK 000 000 0 -- 0 5 2
HURRICANE 002 021 x -- 5 10 1
Greer and Sidon. Rogers and Reynolds.
Hitting: (WP) Tracy 2-3. (H) Pierson 2-3; Sargent 2-3, 2B, 3B, 2 RBIs; Rogers 2-4, 2B, 2 RBIs; Hebb 2-3, 2B.