Midland, Spring Valley make MSAC softball final
HURRICANE, W.Va. -- Prior to Thursday evening, the last time that Cabell Midland saw a softball field, Hurricane was quickly running the Knights off of it in a mercy-rule shortened game.
Cabell Midland exacted a bit of revenge, jumping out on top of the top-ranked Redskins early before holding off late rally attempts in a 6-3 win in the MSAC Tournament semifinals at Hurricane.
"After losing to them 13-1 in our last game, I was really proud of how they put that game out of their mind," Cabell Midland coach Jeanne Lunsford said of her players. "They came out and played well in all phases."
With the win, Cabell Midland will meet Spring Valley in the 7 p.m. MSAC Championship on Friday evening. The Timberwolves earned a 7-1 win over Ripley, which meets Hurricane in the 5 p.m. consolation game.
In their first matchup since dropping that 13-1 contest to Hurricane at home, the Knights executed much better in both aspects of the game.
The catalyst against Hurricane's tough lineup on Thursday was pitcher Jenna Marsh, who constantly battled adverse situations to get her team back in the dugout with minimal damage.
Hurricane stranded 10 runners in the game, including two runners in each of the first three innings, as Marsh set the tone.
While the first three innings belonged to Cabell Midland, the game's most pivotal stage came in the bottom of the sixth with the Knights leading 6-1.
Hurricane used an error and a single to put runners on first and third with the top of its lineup coming to the plate.
Marsh, however, got a flyout to left field that yielded no runs, a grounder back to the circle that scored a run, and a strikeout to escape with just one run allowed.
"We wanted to keep a good defensive game," Marsh said. "I didn't want to try and blow it by them. I just wanted to pitch it where they weren't going to get good hits."
While Marsh was taking care of business in the circle, Mandi King took care of the bulk of the offense for the Knights in the win -- their first in four opportunities against Hurricane this season.
King reached base in all four plate appearances and accounted for five of the team's six runs, driving in three and scoring two.
She started the scoring in the top of the third with a two-out, two-run double off of Courtney Rogers to score Brooke Chapman and Jordan Colliflower. King then came home on an RBI double by Erin Kaplan to make it 3-0.
King started another three-run frame for the Knights in the fifth inning when she got a squeeze bunt down in front of the plate and Colliflower got under the tag at the plate. After a groundout, Alyssa Koontz doubled to left to score King.
The Knights later loaded the bases to chase Rogers out of the circle and Marsh drew a walk from Emily Davis after falling behind 0-2 to make it 6-0.
King said the memory of last week's loss had stayed with the Knights all week.
"We just came in last week and talked about how last week was a bad game," King said. "We weren't too happy about it and tonight was just a great win. We kept our head on the ball and come up here and win it."
Hurricane tried to crawl back into the contest, getting a triple from Cassi Sargent and an RBI single by Addie Fullen to get on the board in the fifth.
The Redskins had nine hits in the game and at least one in each inning, but couldn't put together a surge when needed, according to head coach Josh Caldwell.
"Just all around, too many mistakes," Caldwell said. "That's a really good team. We can't play the way we did tonight and beat them ever. They are good enough to beat us without our mistakes."
Spring Valley advanced to the championship by overcoming a slow start to top the Vikings in the first game on Thursday.
The Timberwolves trailed 1-0 after Ripley used a Darby Peterson RBI single and a pair of Spring Valley errors to get on the board.
Spring Valley, though, quickly atoned for its mistakes as Taylor Brumfield laced a two-run, two-out single to score a pair and give the Timberwolves the lead.
Brumfield was 3-for-3 in the contest and her two-run single jumpstarted the offense to nine hits in its final three at-bats to earn the convincing win.
"We just needed that one hit to get us started," Spring Valley coach Allison Hatfield said. "They are so much more capable than what they showed early on. I think they finally relaxed and just broke it open."
After Brumfield gave Spring Valley the lead, Haley Caldwell provided the day's biggest blast -- a two-run home run to left field to score her and Taylor Scott.
The Timberwolves then doubled its lead with a three-spot in the bottom of the sixth. Caldwell added an RBI double in that frame while Haleigh Christopher also had an RBI single.
Spring Valley and Cabell Midland have split the season-series to this date and Friday's championship will also serve as a precursor to the postseason sectional, which starts next week.
CABELL MIDLAND 003 030 0 -- 6 10 2
HURRICANE 000 011 1 -- 3 9 2
Marsh and Koontz. Rogers, Davis (5) and Adams. Hitting: (CM) King 3-4, 2B, 3 RBI; Kaplan 2B, RBI; Koontz 2B, RBI; Kelly 2-3; Marsh RBI. (H) Sargent 3B; Null 2-4; Davis RBI; Metz 2-3.
RIPLEY 000 100 0 -- 1 4 2
SPRING VALLEY 000 223 x -- 7 11 4
Hager and Mellinger. Acker and Adkins. Hitting: (R) Peterson RBI. (SV) Caldwell 2-4, 2B, HR, 3 RBI; Brumfield 3-3, 2 RBI; Jackson 3-4, 2B; Christopher RBI.
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