CHAPMANVILLE – It’s always nice to win your Senior Night game but that wasn’t the case on Tuesday at Chapmanville Regional High School’s Ronnie Ooten Field as Winfield played spoiler and routed the Lady Tigers 11-2.
A big seven-run top of the sixth inning by the Generals broke open and otherwise close game as Winfield improved to 18-9 overall and 13-4 in the Cardinal Conference.
Chapmanville dropped to 13-10, 9-8, as the final week of the regular season began to wind down ahead of next week’s Class AA sectional tournament.
The Lady Tigers still sit in first place in the Cardinal Conference South Division standings one-half game ahead of Wayne, which is 14-9, 8-8.
Chapmanville honored its five seniors on Tuesday – Tabitha Adkins, Casey Butcher, Bailey Parsons, Shea Pridemore and Amber Richards.
Adkins pitched but took the loss on the mound. She also had an RBI double.
Parsons started at second base and had a sacrifice bunt.
Pridemore started a shortstop and had a hit.
Butcher, making her first start of the season as the DP, singled.
Richards started in left field in place of usual starter Katlin Moore, who was reportedly away on a field trip.
Ashleigh Mahon went 2-for-3 for Chapmanville with a double. Sierra Cook was 2-for-3 with an RBI and came in to pitch in relief of Adkins in the sixth. Adkins fanned seven and walked one.
Winfield had 13 hits in the game. Lola Baber was 3-for-4 with two doubles and a run batted in. Abby Loyd was 2-for-4 with three RBIs while Kennedy Dean went 2-for-4 with a double, a triple and one RBI. Leadoff batter Elyssa Medley was 2-for-4 with an RBI triple.
Faith Gaylor pitched the complete game win for Winfield.
Winfield led 2-0 in the first inning on Loyd’s two-run single to center.
It was 3-0 in the fourth as K.K. Short walked and later scored on an error.
In the fifth, Winfield upped the lead to 4-0 with Baber’s RBI double to left field.
Then in the sixth, Winfield sent 12 batters to the plate and busted the game open with a seven-spot.
Gracie Denison got it going with an RBI single to left to make it 5-0. Medley then ripped an RBI triple to the right field corner as the lead increased to 6-0. Gaylor followed with an RBI single to center as the Generals led 7-0.
Dean came up next and clubbed an RBI triple to make it an 8-0 ballgame.
Loyd’s RBI single to field field put Winfield ahead 9-0 and two more would cross as the lead swelled to 11-0.
Chapmanville saved face in the bottom of the sixth, scoring two runs to set the final score. Adkins had an RBI double and Cook and RBI single to left to account for the runs.
HONORING MULE: It was vintage Ronnie Ooten on Tuesday night before the Chapmanville softball team’s Senior Night game against Winfield.
After the Lady Tigers’ five seniors were honored, PA announcer Bobby Belcher asked Coach Ooten and his wife, assistant coach Barb Ooten, to stand in the pitcher’s circle.
“What for?” a bewildered Ronnie Ooten said, after a slight pause, taking a few steps to his left inside the chalk.
“It’s not for Coach of the Year,” Belcher announced.
“Ain’t that the truth,” joked Ooten, a former 2016 National Coach of the Year winner in softball, acknowledging his current young team’s rebuilding season.
Instead, the Ootens were surprised with a homemade plaque by senior player Casey “Tea Cup” Butcher.
Butcher, who has taken carpentry at the vocational school, made a home plate shaped plaque for the coaches which read, “Thank you for being the best coaches ever. I’m gonna miss you guys so much.”
Butcher also made wooden home made mini bats for mementos for each of the other four senior players, Barb Ooten said.
The 73-year-old Ooten has had a long and illustrious career as Chapmanville’s softball coach. Ooten, in his 39th season as head coach, began coaching the Lady Tigers’ softball program in 1981 and is the only head coach Chapmanville’s varsity team has had.
Ooten has coached Chapmanville to six state championships, the most for any varsity coach in Logan County prep sports history, leading the Lady Tigers to Class AA state crowns in 1999, 2004, 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2016.
Ooten has nearly a staggering 1,000 games to his credit and has a 741-185 all-time coaching record, an 80 percent winning clip.
In all those seasons, Chapmanville has only suffered one losing season.
That came in 2013 when the Lady Tigers suffered a sub .500 15-17 campaign.
CHIP OFF THE OLD DEAN: Winfield’s starting lineup on Tuesday featured freshman center fielder Kennedy Dean.
Dean is the daughter of David Dean, a former Chapmanville High School all-state football player and assistant coach.
Dean, who lives now in the Winfield area, was also a standout player on the Marshall University football team in the 1980s.
SECTIONAL SEEDS: The seedings for the upcoming Class AA Region 4 Section 2 softball tournament are expected to be known sometime at the end of this week.
Lincoln County, 16-13 overall, is this year’s host. All games will be played at the Lincoln County High School softball field in Hamlin and the sectionals are slated to begin on Tuesday, April 30.
Lincoln County is projected to be the top seed with Chapmanville (13-10) second. The two teams met earlier in the year with the Panthers winning 2-1 in eight innings in Hamlin. LC is scheduled to travel to Chapmanville on Friday night, weather permitting.
Chapmanville is 7-1 this season against sectional teams, while Lincoln County is 6-2.
CRHS and Lincoln County met for the sectional championship last season at Madison as the Lady Tigers won 14-0 in a winner-take-all game. Lincoln County had defeated Chapmanville 5-2 in eight innings to force a second championship game in the double elimination tourney.
Despite a below than .500 record, Man (7-9) hopes to knock down the number three seed. The Lady Billies are 3-5 against sectional this year and have a 3-1 win over Lincoln County this season. Man also lost 6-0 to the Panthers at home and fell at LCHS, 11-7, in Tuesday’s third meeting of the spring. Man also gave CRHS a tough game in a 1-0 loss in 10 innings this season.
Logan (7-17, 3-4), Scott (7-16, 4-3) and Mingo Central (0-24, 0-17) round out the sectional tourney field.
CARDINAL RULE: Cardinal Conference teams have won 12 out of the last 13 Class AA state softball championships.
That trend is likely to continue this season as Herbert Hoover and a possible second conference team hope to be in Vienna this year for the state tournament, which is slated to run May 22-23 at Jackson Memorial Park.
Herbert Hoover (23-1) is the two-time defending state champs, and playing out of a perceived weaker Region 3, the Huskies are hoping to coast in to the state tourney. Hoover’s lone loss was an 9-8 setback to Sissonville, a game which ended the Huskies’ 45-game winning streak dating back to the 2017 season.
The winner of Region 4 Section 2 plays the winner of Region 4 Section 1 in the upcoming best-of-three regional championship series.
Section 1 is a log jam of good teams, including top seed Sissonville (23-5), No. 2 Point Pleasant, No. 3 Winfield (18-9), and No. 4 Nitro (19-7). Wayne (14-9) and struggling Poca (1-19) round out the field.
Sissonville, Winfield, Nitro, Wayne and Poca are also conference teams, along with some of the Section 2 teams, so that opens the door again this year for two Cardinal Conference squads to be represented again in Vienna in the four-team state tourney field.
The last two years, it’s been an All-Cardinal Conference final as Herbert Hoover and Chapmanville met for the state championship. CRHS beat Hoover 11-9 in the 2017 championship round to force a winner-take-all title game which was won 8-1 by the Huskies.
Last year, Herbert Hoover won 11-1 over the Lady Tigers in the finals to cap off an unbeaten 34-0 season.
Paul Adkins is the Sports Editor of the Logan Banner. Follow him on Twitter at @PAdkinsBanner or email him at [email protected]