Patriots win sectional title

PARKERSBURG – Taking the lead and keeping it despite repeated Parkersburg High comeback attempts, host Parkersburg South notched a 3-2 win at Godbey Field Thursday afternoon to claim the Class AAA softball Region I, Section 2 championship in the deciding third game of the sectional tournament.

The 11-22 Patriots will now face Wheeling Park in the regional semifinals at 5 p.m. next Thursday, May 9, at I-470 Field in Wheeling.

The Big Reds, who took South to a deciding third game in the two-team best-of-three sectional format, finished their year at 15-20, but set a school record for softball wins in a season.

South, sporting a young team this season with a trio of freshman starters including pitcher Megan Bosley Thursday, gained a 2-0 advantage in the third inning.

Sydney Smith, another frosh, singled with one out and Hannah Wilson, the third South freshman starter, laid down a prefect sacrifice bunt right out in front of home plate that went for a infield single. Logan Somerville followed with a single up the middle to load the bases and Trinity Fury popped an RBI single over the drawn-in shortstop’s head. Then an out later, Morgan Trippett was hit by a pitch to force in the second run.

PHS cut the deficit in half in the top of the fifth frame as Courtney Bee led off with a single, Rachel Slone’s sacrifice moved the runner to second and Arianna Mercer bounced an RBI single past shortstop into left field.

But the Patriots got a two-run margin back in their half of the fifth. Catcher Fury, who had three of South’s seven hits in the game, smacked a leadoff single to left, then walks to Trippett and Kristen Hamilton loaded the bases with two outs before a wild pitch let in run No. 3 for South.

The Big Reds’ final tally in the top of the seventh made the count 3-2 on a walk, two ground-ball outs to move the runner to third before Morgan Lanham hit a ball that got through South’s drawn-in infield to plate the run.

But reliever Trippett, who took over on the mound for Bosley in the sixth, then cranked up a strikeout to end the game with the potential tying run at first base.

“Of course, you always want to take the lead, but the most important part is to add on to it once you get it,” said South head coach Jenny Null.

She was extremely happy with Bosley’s five-inning pitching stint. “I thought Megan did a great job out there for a freshman in the biggest game of the year for us,” said Null.

South lost at Wheeling Park in the season opener on March 23 in only meeting this year between the two teams,

Second-year PHS head coach Ron Perdue was more than pleased with how his revitalized Big Reds played South to the hilt in all three sectional tilts. “The program is coming,” he said. “‘We’ve tried to build it from the bottom up, and I think we are getting better, To play this way against South, a quality program, is a credit to these girls wanting to get better.”