Midland wins section title
ONA -- Cabell Midland third baseman Morgan Zerkle puts a fear in the opposition due to her lightning speed from the Knights' leadoff spot.
However, on Thursday, Zerkle also showed that she's not just a slap hitter.
Zerkle went 3-for-3 with a triple, an inside-the-park home run and four RBIs to lead Cabell Midland to the Class AAA, Region IV, Section 4 championship with a 12-3 win over Spring Valley.
"She's not just going to put the ball down all the time," Cabell Midland coach Jeanne Lunsford said. "She can mix it up and she's definitely got power. You saw that today."
Zerkle ripped a shot into the gap in left-center field and raced around the bases for a three-run, inside-the-park home run to cap the scoring in a five-run fifth inning that led to the five-inning, mercy-rule shortened win.
Prior to the inside-the-parker, Spring Valley had cut the lead to 7-3 in the top of the fourth on a two-run home run by Alex Milum, who had a terrific sectional tournament for the Timberwolves.
However, the margin was too much to overcome after the Knights' bats got going from the onset.
Zerkle led off the game with a walk and scored quickly on an infield single from Jordan Colliflower. An error put two runners on before Savannah Eplin doubled to the fence to make it 3-0.
Spring Valley freshman Taylor Brumfield notched her first career home run to cut the deficit to two, but Cabell Midland responded with four runs in the bottom of the second as Zerkle and Jenny Brumfield each notched RBI triples while Eplin also had an RBI hit.
"We came out and got some runs early so it was good," Lunsford said. "Our defense came out loose with the cushion and played well. At this time of year, a win is a win and you take it however you can get it."
Despite the season-ending loss, Spring Valley coach Allison Webb was pleased with her team's overall performance during the postseason.
The Timberwolves advanced to the championship game in exciting fashion after defeating Huntington High 5-3 after scoring four runs in the top of the seventh with two outs.
Brumfield came up with the Timberwolves down to their last out and delivered a single up the middle to score Brooke Jackson and cut the deficit down to 3-2.
The Timberwolves were down to their last strike with Milum facing a 1-2 count, but she came through in the clutch, lacing a two-run single to left field to give Spring Valley its first lead of the game. Elex Robertson followed with a single to score Milum with the insurance run.
Webb said the performance showed how much her team, which loses three seniors, has grown this season.
"They would've folded," Webb said of how her team would've handled it earlier in the year. "I'm so proud of them that they had enough faith in themselves to play to the last out. They took a game away instead of laying down and taking a loss."
Cabell Midland now moves on to face Hurricane in Thursday's Class AAA, Region IV semifinal at Hurricane. The Redskins defeated Lincoln County for the Section 3 title on Thursday night.
SPRING VALLEY 010 20 -- 3 3 2
CABELL MIDLAND 340 5x -- 12 12 0
Phillips, Jackson (4) and Adkins, Robertson (4). Shull, Marsh (4), Tolbert (5) and Koontz.
Hitting: (SV) Jackson 2B; Brumfield HR; Milum HR, 2 RBI. (CM) Zerkle 3-3, 3B, HR, 4 RBI; King RBI; Colliflower RBI; Kelley HR, RBI; Brumfield 3B, RBI; Eplin 2-3, 2B, 3 RBI; Kaplan 2-3, RBI.
SPRING VALLEY 000 010 4 -- 5 9 2
HUNTINGTON HIGH 002 001 0 -- 3 3 1
Adkins, Phillips (6) and Robertson. Bias and Collins.
Hitting: (SV) Jackson 4-4, RBI; Milum 2-3, RBI; Robertson 2-3, 2B; Brumfield RBI. (HH) Bias HR, 2 RBI.