PARKERSBURG - If the Parkersburg South softball team wishes to continue its season, the Patriots must do something they were unable to do during the regular season: Beat Wheeling Park.
The South girls squad began the season by dropping their first two games to the northern Patriots, 12-1 and 13-2.
"Wheeling Park was eight games into their season...we were just beginning ours," shares South coach Jennifer Null. "Our girls were not used to playing together yet, and it showed."
The tables need to be turned today when Wheeling Park (18-5) and South (11-22) meet for a third time this year in a Class AAA regional semifinal game set for 5 p.m. at Wheeling. South ended the season playing 11 more games than the northern Patriots and has managed to unite as the season has progressed.
"Even though our record doesn't reflect it, the girls have played really good softball and I am thrilled that we are in the position that we are in,"exclaims coach Null.
South's girls are coming off a grueling best-of-three matchup against crosstown rival PHS in the sectional tournament. The Big Reds captured the first game behind the pitching of Cassidy Newbrough but were unable to muster another victory in the final two contests as the Patriots captured the Section II crown. Meanwhile, Wheeling Park took down Brooke in Section I to advance to the regional semifinals.
Looking to pitch the southsiders to victory today is a trio of pitchers all of who could see time on the mound. Leading the way is senior Morgan Trippett, who is dealing with back problems and may not be ready to go at gametime, but could make a relief appearance.
If Trippett does not start the game, the job could fall to either junior Nicole Landis or freshman Megan Bosley.
"All three of these girls have gotten better as the year went along and it is such a great advantage for South that we have all three of these girls we can depend on and look to for a win," exudes Null.
The southern Patriots are looking to catch lightning in a bottle and repeat last year's run to the state finals where they finished as eventual runners-up to state champion, John Marshall. Coach Null is excited that she has additional pitchers this year and that she won't have to worry about innings limits. "Cece (Bailey) did a great job for us last year, unfortunately we pitched her too much and had no one else to turn to in the championship game.''
Speaking of John Marshall, the Monarchs (29-3) will be playing University (18-13) on Thursday in the other Region I semifinal.