VIENNA -A banner year for Ohio Valley University finally came to an end after the Fighting Scots placed third in Friday's West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Softball Tournament.
Picked 13th in the preseason poll, OVU fought its way through the losers bracket by defeating Alderson-Broaddus 3-2 in eight innings then shut out Seton Hill 1-0 before West Virginia State eliminated the Fighting Scots with a 3-1 victory.
OVU, which ended the campaign at 26-23 following its best finish in the WVIAC Tournament, set a program record for wins in a season.
Photos by Jeff Baughan
Ohio Valley University first baseman Sarah Simmons is hugged by teammate Juliana Rushton after Simmons caught a line drive to record the final out against Seton Hill. The Fighting Scots won, 1-0.
"I just told the girls that they should hold their heads up and walk out of here with a lot of pride," said OVU head coach Rob Graham. "This is the furthest we have ever gotten in this tournament and we made every team work to beat us."
OVU 3, Alderson-Broaddus 2
At Jackson Park
Game 1: West Virginia Wesleyan 2, Ohio Valley University 0
Game 2: Fairmont State 7, Shepherd 5
Game 3: West Virginia State 2, Seton Hill 1
Game 4: Alderson-Broaddus 10, Charleston 1 (5 innings)
Game 5: Ohio Valley University 3, Shepherd 0 (Shepherd eliminated)
Game 6: Seton Hill 6, Charleston 4
Game 7: West Virginia Wesleyan 1, Fairmont State 0
Game 8: West Virginia State 1, Alderson-Broaddus 0
Game 9: Ohio Valley University 3, Alderson-Broaddus 2 (8 innings)
Game 10: Seton Hill 6, Fairmont State 1
Game 11: West Virginia Wesleyan 3, West Virginia State 1
Game 12: Ohio Valley University 1, Seton Hill 0
Game 13: West Virginia State 3, Ohio Valley University 1
Game 14: West Virginia Wesleyan vs. West Virginia State, 11 a.m.
Game 15 (if necessary): Second championship game, 1 p.m.
Ohio Valley 3, Alderson-Broaddus 2
OVU 000 200 01 - 3 7 0
A-B (24-23) 000 002 00 - 2 7 0
WP: Raegan Turner 7.2 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 9 SO, 0 BB
Ally Southall .1 IP, 1 H, 2 R, 1 SO, 0 BB
LP: Ali Neace 1 IP, 0 H, 1 R, 1 SO, 1 BB
Kat Powell 7 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 9 SO, 1 BB
OVU hitters: Donna O'Bryant double, 2 RBIs including game-winner; Elora Oprins 1-2, 2 walks, RBI; Chanel Bouchard 2-3
A-B hitters: Vanessa Bodily 2-run home run in sixth inning; Kharissa Kenoth 2-3
Seton Hill 6, Fairmont State 1
(Fairmont State eliminated)
Seton Hill 012 020 1 - 6 8 1
Fairmont State 001 000 0 -1 5 3
WP: Dani Treaster 5IP 1BB 1SO
Christine Henderson 2IP 0BB 1SO
LP: Chelsea Cobb 3IP 1Bb 1SO
Nikki Nuzum 4IP 0BB 3SO
Leading hitters: Seton Hill - Stefanie Wiegand 1-4, run; Dani Treaster 1-4, run; Liz Piekut 3-4, 3 runs; Christine Henderson 1-4, 2 RBIs; Lisa Kaczynski RBI; Brandi Piccolino 1-4, HR, run, RBI; Taylor Marchozzi 1-3. Fairmont State: Holly Frampton 1-3; Carly
W.Va. Wesleyan 3, W.Va. State 1
(Winners Bracket Final)
W.Va. State 010 000 0 - 1 5 3
Wesleyan (38-11) 100 200 x - 3 3 1
WP: Hillary Perez-Ashley 7 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 SO
LP: Kelsey Lorraine 6 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 6 SO
W.Va. State hitting: Mallory Hilton 1-3, 2B; Kayla Sturms 1-3 R, 2B; Mattie Best 1-3; Desiree Giffin 2-3 RBI
W.Va. Wesleyan hitting: Jacqui Omichinski 2-3, 2 R, 2B; KC Carey R; Paige Cummings RBI; Megan Malenstyn 1-2 RBI
Next game: W.Va. Wesleyan vs. W.Va. State 11 a.m. today at Jackson Park in WVIAC championship. Game two if necessary at 1 p.m.
Ohio Valley University 1, Seton Hill 0
(Seton Hill eliminated)
OVU 000 001 0 - 1 5 2
Seton Hill (20-29) 000 000 0 - 0 3 0
WP: Ally Southall 7IP 1BB 2SO
LP: Christine Henderson 7IP 1BB 2SO
Leading hitters: Brittany Shepley 1-3; Opy Oprins 1-2, HR, run, RBI; Sarah Simmons 1-2; Kelsey Graham 1-3; Chanel Bouchard 1-3. Seton Hill - Liz Piekut 1-3; Lisa Kaczynski 1-3; Brandi Piccolino 1-3; Beth Anne Swartzwelder 1-2.
West Virginia State 3,
Ohio Valley University 1
(Ohio Valley eliminated)
OVU (26-23) 000 000 1-1 9 1
WVS (45-12) 200 001 x-3 7 0
WP: Sara Pelegreen 7 IP, 9 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 SO
LP: Raegan Turner 6 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 5 SO
OVU hitting: Brittany Shepley 3-4, double; Kourtney Allender 1-3; Donna O'Bryant 2-4, RBI; Elora Oprins 2-4; Kelsey Graham 1-3
WVS hitting: Sabrina Schouten 1-3; Kayla Sturms 2-3, RBI; Mattie Best 1-3, RBI; Desiree Giffin 1-3, RBI; Hannah Griffith 1-2; Poppy Ramey 1-1
Next game: West Virginia State takes on West Virginia Wesleyan in the championship game at 11 a.m. on Saturday.
They may have been the two bottom seeds in the West Virginia Conference Softball Tournament, but No. 7 Alderson-Broaddus and No. 8 Ohio Valley hooked up in a classic Friday afternoon in an elimination game.
Although neither team deserved to go out, that's the fate that befell the Battlers as OVU advanced to the Final Four with a 3-2 win in eight innings.
The game started out as a pitching duel as both Ohio Valley's Raegan Turner and A-B's Kat Powell mowed down the opposition over the first three innings.
The complexion of the contest quickly changed in the top of the fourth when OVU's Kourtney Allender led off with a single and came all the way around on a double by Donna O'Bryant to light up the scoreboard. O'Bryant then came home on a single by Elora Oprins.
The way Turner was dominating, it looked like that 2-0 lead would be safe. Turner, who had pitched 13 innings on Wednesday, was pulled in the bottom of the sixth in favor of Ally Southall, who had pitched Ripley to the Class AAA West Virginia state high school championship at the Jackson Park Complex where the WVIAC event was taking place. Southall was unable to hold the lead, surrendering a one-out, two-run home run to Vanessa Bodily that tied the game.
At that point, OVU coach Rob Graham put Turner back in the game and she retired the next two hitters to leave the game tied at 2.
After neither team scored in the seventh inning, the international tie-breaker rule went into effect, meaning the batter who made the final out in the previous inning would start on second base. For OVU, that meant leadoff hitter and speedster Brittany Shipley started on second against A-B reliever Ali Neace. Shepley advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by Allender and scored on a groundout to first by O'Bryant that put OVU up 3-2.
Then it was A-B's turn to start with a runner on second in the form of Mary Mayer. She advanced to third on a groundout to second by Adrienne Daniels. But Powell's groundout to the pitcher for the second out failed to score Daniels, leaving it up to Bodily to tie or win the game. That didn't happen as she grounded out to third. Although A-B questioned whether the ball bounced off her foot before she left the batter's box, none of the umpires saw that happen and declared the game was over.
Thus, Turner had her second win of the tournament. When OVU's players met following the win, Graham held up four fingers, signifying OVU was one of four teams left in the tournament.
A-B finished its season with a 24-23 record.
OVU 1, Seton Hill 0
Pitcher Ally Southall felt she had something to prove.
The former standout from Ripley High School didn't get much work in trying to preserve a lead for Ohio Valley University in its opening game Friday at the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Tournament. But the sophomore found redemption in in the Fighting Scots' next contest and threw seven innings of shutout ball in a 1-0 win against Seton Hill.
"I knew I messed up pretty bad in the first game, so I knew I had to come out and help my team," Southall said.
Opy Oprins, who just missed a two-run home run in the first inning when she belted the first pitch she saw from Seton Hill's Christine Henderson just left of the foul pole, was responsible for the lone run when she sent Henderson's 1-0 offering in the bottom of the sixth inning in the same direction over the left field fence - this time in fair territory for a solo homer.
"My coach told me to move up in the box - today, it just felt like I was on as far as hitting the ball," Oprins said.
Southall also was backed by several web gems, including one of her own when she snared a line drive off the bat of Beth Swartzwelder to open the third inning. That was part of a stretch where Southall retired 11 straight batters.
Swartzwelder came back to ruin the streak when she singled to lead off the sixth inning. One sacrifice bunt and one strikeout later, Swartzwelder was standing on second base. Liz Piekut then walked to the batter's box and fell behind in the count 1-2 when she went opposite field with a single to right.
Outfielder Leigh Murphy charged in to field the ball then threw a strike on one bounce to the catcher Oprins, who applied the tag on Swartzwelder trying to score the game's first run.
"That was a great throw - it was right on the money," Southall said.
OVU escaped a major jam in the seventh inning. After retiring the first two batters on infield grounders, Southall allowed a single to Brandi Piccolino and walked Amanda Arnold.
For the third straight batter, Southall faced a full count - this time to Taylor Marchozzi who ripped a shot headed down the right field line. But OVU first baseman Sarah Simmons snared the line drive before making its way past the bag for the final out.
Seton Hill finished the campaign at 20-29.
West Virginia State 3, OVU 1
West Virginia State University junior Sara Pelegreen is accustomed to facing stressful situations. It comes with the job when you are a pitcher.
The Yellow Jacket standout was at her best, however, on Friday as she hurled a complete-game as her team eliminated Ohio Valley University by a 3-1 score to reach today's 11 a.m. championship game against No. 1 seeded West Virginia Wesleyan.
"It (stress) comes with the job," explained Pelegreen, who struck out three and walked only one. "I have to admit, though, that I really got nervous in that last inning, but my defense did a great job of picking me up."
OVU finally got on the scoreboard in its final at-bat as Brittany Shepley reached on a two-out single. Third baseman Kourtney Allender lined a single to right field two pitches later to advance Shepley to second where she came around to score three pitches later when center fielder Donna O'Bryant lined a Pelegreen offering down the right field line.
Faced with the tying runs on second (O'Bryant) and third (Allender), Pelegreen settled down to get OVU's Opy Oprins to ground out to second for the final out of the inning.
"I thought I had more pressure on me last night (Thursday) against A-B," continued Pelegreen. "But, they (OVU) made it interesting there at the end."
West Virginia State, now 45-12, struck early against Fighting Scots' pitcher Raegan Turner, scoring two runs in its first at-bat.
Freshman Sabrina Schouten got things rolling for the Jackets with a one-out single to right field. Turner, who struck out five in the game, appeared to have worked out of the jam when she got State's Brittany Hyatt to pop out to short, but designated player Kayla Sturms laced an 0-1 pitch into center field to bring Schouten, who had stolen second, home with the first run of the game.
Sturms, who went 2-for-3 at the plate, advanced to second when the Scots' fielder elected to try to get Schouten at the plate and then moved to third on a passed ball. Center fielder Mattie Best then brought home the second run of the game for the Jackets with a sharp single to center.
Turner would get out of the inning by striking out State's Desiree Giffin, but the damage had been done.
"Those (the runs) were miraculous," said Pelegreen. "There have been times this season when we have waited until the seventh inning to score so to have two runs to work with in the first inning allowed me to relax even when they got runners on base."
Dave Poe, Kerry Patrick and Jim Butta contributed to this story