Ritchie County takes top prize

ELLENBORO – Abby Burgess and Micah Ray launched a pair of two-run homers and Moie Ray tossed a five-inning three-hit shutout as host Ritchie County defeated St. Marys, 9-0, here Thursday to claim the Little Kanawha Conference softball championship for the sixth straight year and 21st time overall.

“Well, I’m happy and that was fun,” said head coach Dave Mossor, who watched freshman Kenna DeLancey go 3 for 3 and throw a five-inning no-hitter in the Rebels’ 8-0 semifinal victory versus Braxton County.

The Blue Devils, who will conduct senior night at 5 p.m. today when Parkersburg South visits them in Belmont, reached the finals by knocking off Roane County, 4-3, in eight innings.

“Never in a million years did I think (at the start of the year) we’d be fighting for the LKC championship,” said SMHS skipper John Mike Nichols, whose team got a mound win from MiKayla Hearn (8 IP, 3 BB, 6 SO) along with a 3 for 3 effort from Abbi Fetty versus the Raiders.

In the championship game, St. Marys got a single from Hearn in the third inning and a pair of singles from Sami Crowe and MyKaela Handschumacher in the fifth. Moie Ray didn’t issue a walk and recorded three strikeouts.

Cass Ray, who went 2 for 3 with three runs scored and two stolen bases, reached on a two-out single against Blue Devil losing left-hander Mariah Martin and scored the only run the Rebels ended up needing on Burgess’ RBI infield single in the bottom of the first. Ritchie County (25-2) added four spots in the third and fourth frames.

Vanessa Tallman, who had a diving shoestring catch in right field to rob Braxton County’s Jessica Ellis to end the fourth during DeLancey’s no-no, got the third inning started with a walk. After Cass Ray reached on an error and Tallman scored, Burgess (3 for 3, 4 RBIs) delivered an RBI base knock and Micah Ray followed with a two-run homer to center.

In the fourth, Cass Ray singled through the legs of Martin to drive in DeLancey and then Burgess blasted a no-doubter to left-center. Micah Ray then reached via a single, stole second and scored on Becca Sullivan’s RBI hit. Rebel Rachel Haddox went 2 for 2 and doubled in the title game.

DeLancey nearly had a perfect game in the first semifinal as she finished with no walks and 10 punchouts. However, Braxton County (18-7) leadoff hitter Charity Ramsey opened the game by reaching on a Rebel infield error. Sullivan, Burgess, Micah Ray and DeLancey each knocked in a run against the Eagles while Rebel No. 9 hitter Michaela Smith had a pair of sacrifices.

Braxton County’s Taylor Bragg suffered the mound setback, but she did start an inning-ending double play in the third when she snared a Leah Kuhn comebacker, fired to shortstop Bre Rhodes, who blazed one across the diamond to first baseman Ally Pritt.

Casey Lassiter (8 IP, 3 BB, 5 SO) was the hard luck loser for Roane County (19-3) against St. Marys, which got a 2 for 4 effort from Amy Childers, who joined with teammate MiKaela Britton to drive in the Blue Devils’ only runs.

Roane County’s Miranda Hall knocked in Kasey Blosser with an RBI groundout to give the Raiders a 1-0 cushion after the bottom of the first. St. Marys (19-7) tied it in the fourth when Abbi Fetty tripled and scored on Britton’s RBI.

In the eighth, Lassiter allowed consecutive two-out free passes to Alyssa Fetty and Abbi Fetty. Childers knocked in one run on her single to left and Roane County’s only error allowed the other two runs to score.

The Raiders, who had the bases loaded with one in the sixth and failed to score, pushed across a pair of tallies in the bottom of the eighth thanks to Beth Hylbert’s two-run double to left-center, but ended the game with runners on second and third. Raider Kelsie Nichols finished 3 for 4.

Roane County is set to open sectional action at 5 p.m. Tuesday against host Ravenswood with the winner then taking on Ritchie County.