VIENNA-For the fourth consecutive May, the West Virginia State High School Softball Tournament was victimized by a stampede.
That's because the Bison of Buffalo High School stormed its way to its fourth consecutive Class A state championship on Thursday, doing so without suffering a loss.
It not only was the sixth state softball title in school history, but it also was the sixth under coach Darrell Moore. When the final out of the Bison's 8-0 five-inning win over Moorefield in the championship game was recorded, Buffalo's players gathered in a pile on the pitcher's mound and were joined there by their normally reserved coach.
Photo by Jeff Baughan
Moorefield’s Tara George, left, puts the tag on Buffalo’s Noell Dingess sliding into third base in the West Virginia Class A state tournament championship game in Vienna.
Buffalo, the state champions in 2002, 2004, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014, left no doubt who was the best small school team in the state, beating Magnolia 6-0 in the winner's bracket final, then destroying a game but outmanned Moorefield team that surrendered eight runs despite Buffalo batting in just four innings before the mercy rule halted the proceedings.
Buffalo showed its pitching depth on Thursday as Ali Burdette threw a complete game 1-hitter against Magnolia, then Chelsey Parkins limited Moorefield to just three hits in the title contest.
Buffalo, which finished the season 29-7, brought one of the biggest cheering sections to Vienna and its members had a great deal about which to vocalize their support as the Bison never were threatened over two days of play.
Meanwhile, Magnolia played standout defense and got solid pitching efforts from Mallory Chapman but the Blue Eagles got just four hits in suffering back-to-back shutout losses to Buffalo and Moorefield, settling for third place and finishing the season with an 18-16 mark.
When Magnolia and Moorefield met in the loser's bracket final, it turned out to be the best pitching duel of the tournament as Magnolia's Mallory Chapman and Moorefield's Dani Rogers gave up just a combined four hits. Despite pitching a one-hitter, Chapman was the hard luck loser.
Through four innings of work, Rogers surrendered only one hit and allowed just three base-runners while striking out seven. Chapman proved to be even more dominant, striking out 10 in the same number of innings, but giving up an unearned run in the bottom of the fourth.
Magnolia had a chance to break into the scoring column in the fifth as two-out singles by Ashley Moore and Audrey Gibb put runners on the corners with Chapman coming to the plate.
The Eagles' top offensive weapon hit a line shot but it ended up in the glove of Moorefield's left fielder.
Rogers did the rest as the senior set down the final six batters she faced to advance Moorefield into the championship game and send home the Eagles.
Magnolia placed both Chapman and Davianne Croasmun on the 10-member all-tournament team which, naturally, was dominated by Buffalo with four selections.