Ona/Hite-Saunders headed to state
HUNTINGTON -- All it took was a couple of runs early in the first inning to set Ona/Hite-Saunders in motion.
From there, Rianna Kingery took care of the rest.
Kingery struck out 13 batters in a no-hitter and added four RBIs at the plate to lead Ona/Hite-Saunders to an 11-1 win over Wayne in the age 9-10 softball runner-up game at Enslow Middle School field.
With the win, Ona/Hite-Saunders joins Barboursville as District 1 representatives in the state tournament, which starts next Friday in Petersburg, W.Va.
"I think they put one ball in fair play, and it was a pop-up that we took care of," Ona/Hite-Saunders coach Kirby Kingery said. "She mowed them down today and we hit the ball. We gave her run support and she finished it off."
After scoring a pair of runs in the opening frame, Ona/Hite-Saunders broke the game open in the second inning with a four-run frame, highlighted by a two-run double from Kingery.
Ona/Hite-Saunders got five hits in the frame simply by putting the ball in play and making Wayne's defense work.
They continued to put pressure on Wayne the entire game. Ona/Hite-Saunders finished the contest with 10 hits and forced Wayne into six errors.
In addition to Kingery's strong offensive output, Tori Kelley also was a catalyst in the win, finishing 3-for-4 with a double and three RBIs, including a two-run single in the third inning that pushed the lead to 8-0.
"We knew with Rianna, if we got out to a lead, there aren't many teams that will come back on us," Kingery said.
While Ona/Hite-Saunders was able to put the ball in play, Wayne struggled to do so in the contest.
Regardless, Wayne coach Johnny Self couldn't have been more proud of his team considering how young the group was.
Many of the players on the 9-10 team came up from the minor leagues where coaches still pitch to the team. It was a stark contrast going up against the solid pitching of Kingery and Barboursville's Haley Kuhn in the last two days.
"Most of these girls came out of minor league -- seen the coach pitch all year long," Self said. "We worked with them for 3-4 weeks. ... They are probably the hardest working team in the whole league this year. I think we finished 4-2. I told these girls that's not bad at all."
Both Barboursville and Ona/Hite-Saunders will learn their opponents soon for the 9-10 State Tournament in Petersburg. Pairings and pools will be updated to the website (http://www.eteamz.com/WVLittleLeague) as soon as all districts finish competition.
ONA/H-S 242 21 -- 11 10 0
WAYNE 000 10 -- 1 0 6
R. Kingery and Rose. Self, Sansom (3), Self (4) and Booton. Hitting: (O) Kelley 3-4, 2B, 3 RBI; Brumfield 2-4, 2B; Lane 2-4, 2B, RBI; R. Kingery 2B, 4 RBI.