Pioneer girls top Tigers
CHAPMANVILLE -- Pitching and defense win postseason softball games.
Wayne scored runs on two, 2-out throwing errors and a wild pitch to grind out a 4-1 victory over Chapmanville in the Class AA Region IV semifinals Thursday at Chapmanville's Ronnie Ooten Field.
The reigning state champions won despite managing just three hits.
"If your bats are not working that great, you do what you can to scratch out a run here or there," Wayne coach Tish Smith said. "You just keep at it."
It appeared an offensive battle was brewing in the first inning. Wayne's Emily Fry and Jessica Watts led off with back-to-back singles and Jacey Parsons lifted a sacrifice fly to right that scored Fry to give the Pioneers a 1-0 lead.
But after a pair of two-out walks, Wayne (25-6) missed an opportunity stretch the lead as it left the bases loaded.
Chapmanville (15-17), which upset Scott in the sectional tournament, answered with three hits in the bottom of the first. Hanna Wooten's bloop single to right scored Brandi Broom to tie the game.
That was the extent of the offense for the Tigers as Wayne's Jessie Rowe held them hitless the rest of the way.
"Our defense is on. They all made awesome plays," Rowe said. "I know as long as I do my job they're going to have my back."
Defense proved to be the difference. Chapmanville's Talya Berry allowed just one hit over the final six innings, but did walk seven. The Pioneers went ahead to stay in the fourth when Tasha Maynard scored all the way from first on a throwing error for a 2-1 lead.
It was de ja vu in the fifth inning. With Kasey Endicott at first following a two-out walk, a throwing error on a groundball hit by Allie Maynard allowed Endicott to score with a hook slide to beat the tag at the plate and give Wayne a 3-1 advantage.
Tasha Maynard would score Wayne's final run on a two-out wild pitch in the top of the sixth inning.
That's all the help Rowe would need. The junior allowed just a pair of walks and one batter to reach on an error.
"Jessie Rowe's just tough. The closer the game, the better she is," Smith said. "The more aggravated she is, the better she pitches. They try to get to her in the dugouts from other teams and it just makes her more determined and more focused."
Wayne will play for a return trip to the state tournament next Thursday at Lady Pioneer Field against Sissonville, which upset Herbert Hoover in the other Region IV semifinal.
It will be the first time Wayne has been host for a regional final since before any of the players were born.
"Very excited about that," Smith said of playing at home. "It's good so we can have a home crowd and everybody can come and see these girls play and see what they can do. I'm excited that they'll be able to see it."
Wayne beat Sissonville in the regular season, 9-0 and 5-1.
"We hope to have a big crowd," Rowe said. "We know they're out to get us. We're just going to do our best to keep playing ball."
WAYNE 100 111 0 -- 4 3 2
CHAPMANVILLE 100 000 0 -- 1 3 3
Jessie Rowe and Emily Thompson; Talya Berry and Hanna Wooten
Hitting: (W) Emily Fry 2-3; Jacey Parsons RBI. (C) Wooten RBI.