Buffalo clips Parkersburg South, 1-0

PARKERSBURG – Buffalo scored without the benefit of a hit for the game’s only run in the sixth inning Friday afternoon as the two-time defending Class A state softball champion Bison slipped past Class AAA host Parkersburg South 1-0 at Godbey Field.

Buffalo improved to 5-0 with the win, while the Patriots dropped to 1-5 on the season.

After several scoring opportunities for South in the fourth and fifth frames didn’t produce any runs, the Bison got the only run they would need in the top of the sixth.

A passed ball on a strikeout started the decisive inning by letting leadoff batter Jordan Bailey reach base. After a fielder’s choice at second, a throwing error on a high peg to first that glanced off the jumping first baseman’s glove and went a short distance down the right-field line enabled Katie Higginbotham, the runner on first, to go all the way to third on the play.

The run then scored when winning pitcher Ali Burdette hit into a groundout from third to first as Higginbotham, sliding in, beat the throw home from first after the out was recorded.

South, though, did get another scoring chance in the last of the seventh to possibly tie or win the game. A throwing error to first after a strikeout pitch that eluded the Buffalo catcher let Trinity Fury reach base to open the Patriot seventh. But after another strikeout, Bison first baseman Paige England snagged a low liner off the bat of Anna Richards right in front of the bag, then tagged first to double up Fury, who was on her way to second, to end the game.

Burdette went the distance for the win with 11 strikeouts, while Nicole Landis hurled the first five frames for South with Morgan Trippett, who worked the last two innings, being saddled with the loss.

The Patriots did, though, have a runner at third with one out, and runners at second and third with two outs in the fourth.

And in the fifth, South maneuvered with two sacrifices to get runners to second and third with two outs before a pitch got away from the Buffalo catcher, but not too far away. The runner on third hesitated, but then took off for home. The catcher, though, had retrieved the ball by then and threw to Burdette covering home and she applied the tag.

”We’re still trying to find positions, who fits in where and who’s going to step up,” said South head coach Jenny Null, whose 2012 squad was the state runner-up. ”But our bats were not so good today. What I’ve told our girls is that it doesn’t matter where you start, only where you finish. For us, I’ve got a really solid group of fielders this year, so it’s all going to come down to who’s going to make it happen in the batter’s box.”