Local Sports, Morgantown, Sports

SLUGFEST: Mohigans blast 7 homers to top Monarchs in section championship

GLEN DALE — There will be a new W.Va. Class AAA state softball champion this spring. Morgantown flexed its muscles Friday in making sure of that.

The second-seeded Mohigans (19-7) belted a program single-game record seven home runs – four of them solo shots – in eliminating defending state titlist John Marshall, 18-10, in six innings on Monarch Field in the Class AAA Region 1, Section II championship game.

“What a hard-fought battle,” Morgantown head coach Lori Lipscomb said. “I knew John Marshall was going to battle back, but I’m so happy for my girls because they stayed the course. 

The Mohigans will now meet intra-city rival University High in the best-of-3 Region I title series. The Hawks won Section II.

Morgantown’s top three hitters – Anne Robinson (two doubles, home run, four RBI; Emily Peterson double, home run, five RBI; Maddie Wisman two singles, two home runs, four RBI) combined for 10 hits and 13 RBI. The No. 4 and No. 5 batters – Micah Wilson (single, home run, three RBI) and Liz Alsop (home run, two RBI) – together had three hits and five runs driven in.

“Collectively, this team has stayed together all season,” Lipscomb said. “They’ve been confident and the energy has been great. They’ve done a lot in program history, and this is a first.”

Morgantown hadn’t won a sectional championship since the region was realigned.

“The only time we won the sectional was when it was us, University, Preston and Buckhannon-Upshur. John Marshall has always been our nemesis, but not this year.”

“They are a good team,” first-year John Marshall (22-8) head coach Rob Blake said of the Mohigans. “I think they will do well in the regional and state tournaments.”

The win was Morgantown’s third over John Marshall in just eight days. It won the OVAC Tom Bechtel Class 5A Tournament last Friday, 4-3, and defeated the Monarchs, 8-3 on Wednesday.

Peterson drove the first she saw with one out in the first inning over the fence in right-center for a 1-0 lead. A walk and an out later, Alsop smacked a shot over the fence in left-center for a 3-0 advantage.

Beth Robinson homered leading off the second and twin sister, Grace, walked one out later. Older sister, Anne, blasted the first pitch she saw to deep right-center for a three-run shot. Wisman singled up the middle to drive in A. Robinson for a 7-0 reading.

The Monarchs cut the deficit to 7-2 in the bottom of the second when Masyn Inclan singled in Reese Ward. The second run scored on a throwing error.

Morgantown answered back, however, as A. Robinson doubled in a run in the fourth and Peterson lined a two-run double to the gap in left-center for a 10-2 lead.

John Marshall made it a 10-5 game in the bottom of the fourth when Marshall University signee Ava Blake roped a two-run homer to dead center. A.C. Cumberlidge followed with a single and courtesy runner Ellie Finley raced around the bases on Kaylee White’s triple to the right-center gap.

Morgantown came right back with five runs in the top of the fifth, three coming on a towering drive to right by Micah Wilson. It followed a two-run double by Peterson.

Faced with the prospect of having the game end in five innings, John Marshall plated five runs of its own in the home half of the fifth. Nia Miller and Inclan had RBI singles, while Cumberlidge and White had sacrifice flies. Cumberlidge was literally robbed of extra bases when right fielder Maddie Stone ran into right-center before snagging the ball on the run.

Wisman slugged her second round-tripper of the game – a two-run shot in the top of the sixth – that highlighted a three-run sixth. The damage could have been worse had it not been for a nice relay from Ward to Blake to Inclan at the plate to nail courtesy runner Carper Messerly trying to score from second.

“The girls never quit,” Coach Blake noted. I’m very proud of the way they battled back. We’ve gotten down in games this season and battled back, just like we did today. We just fell a little short today.”

Inclan singled four times to pace the Monarchs’ 12-hit attack. Blake also singled in addition to her homer, and Cumberlidge had a pair of singles.

By KIM NORTH/The Intelligencer

W.Va. Class AAA Section I Final
Morgantown 18, John Marshall 10, 6 inn.
Morgan   343 053 –  18  18  2
J. Marsh 020 350 –  10  12  0
M–Wisman wp (5K, 4BB), Wilson (5), (1K, 3BB) and Rhodes; A. Robinson 2D, HR, 4rbi; Peterson 2D, HR, 5rbi; Wisman 2S, 2HR, 4rbi; Wilson S, HR, 3rbi; Alsop HR, 2rbi; B. Robinson HR, rbi, Rhodes S, D
JM–Crow lp (1K, 0BB), Cumberlidge (2), (4K, 7BB) and Inclan; Inclan 4S, 2rbi; Blake S, HR, 2rbi; Cumberlidge 2S, SF, rbi; White T, SF, 2rbi; Ward D; Miller S, rbi