HURRICANE, W.Va. — Defending Class AAA softball champion Hurricane entered Saturday’s contest with Cabell Midland at the Henry Henson Sports Complex having not surrendered a run in its first two games of the season, against Capital and Lincoln County.
The Knights’ offense erupted, however, to mercy the Redskins 14-3 in five innings behind timely hitting and good defense for their second victory of the season, both against Mountain State Athletic Conference competition.
Cabell Midland (2-0, 2-0) also was helped out by Hurricane’s poor defense. Hurricane committed seven errors in the contest, leading to 10 unearned runs for the Knights.
The Redskins’ offense never got going against Tori Kelley. Cabell Midland’s senior pitcher pitched all five innings of the contest, surrendering just three runs, two earned, on six Hurricane hits.
“My curve was good. I just kept it outside and low,” Kelley said. “Keeping it low was the key.”
Kelley said she and her teammates were confident they could overtake their longtime nemesis, but applying the mercy rule to a Hurricane program that’s won five of the last six Class AAA state championships was a “good surprise.”
Hurricane (2-1, 1-1) looked strong during the Knights’ first at-bat, retiring Kirya Kingery, Gracie Hightower and Mikayla Ferguson in order. However, Kelley retired the Redskins’ batting order in the bottom of the first, allowing just one hit.
Kelley did retire the order in the second and didn’t panic when Hurricane’s Alivia Meeks tripled in the third with two outs. She got the next batter, Lindsey Phares, to pop out to second base to escape unscathed. When the shutout ended two batters into the fourth inning, Kelley again shut the door, retiring Harlie Vanatter, Emily Bennett and Rachel Lyon.
Hurricane finally solved Kelley’s pitching in the fifth with a single by No. 8 hitter Madison Moon and a two-run home run by Reagan Schultz, her third of the year, but the game was already decided.
Vanatter pitched the distance for Hurricane and took the loss, giving up 16 hits to the Knights but also watching as her defense, primarily the outfield, misplayed fly balls and let ground balls get by and sometimes roll to the fence.
Cabell Midland’s hitters can’t be sold short. Ferguson, Rielly Lucas, Olivia Pelfrey, Kelley and Jaelyn Lowe all doubled for the Knights. Kelley and Ferguson each had three RBI.
“It’s a good win,” Cabell Midland coach Herman Beckett said. “Tori pitched great and we got plenty of timely hitting.”
CABELL MIDLAND 024 26 — 14 16 1
HURRICANE 000 12 — 3 6 7
Vanatter and Moon; Kelley and Pelfrey.
Hitting: (CM) Lucas 3-4, 2B, RBI, Kelley 2-3, 2B, 3 RBI; (H) Mathes 2-3, Schultz 1-2, HR, 2 RBI.