One for the record books at PHS

VIENNA – If Parkersburg softball coach Ron Perdue has his way, the buck won’t stop here. There are just too many opportunities remaining for the Big Reds to settle.

Wednesday afternoon at Jackson Park, PHS pitcher Cassidy Newbrough struck out 10 Magnolia hitters and Baylee Hilling hit a solo home run as the Big Reds defeated the Blue Eagles 7-1 and broke last year’s record for most wins in a season.

With at least a half dozen games in front of them, the Big Reds improved to 16-8.

“The softball program started in 1977, and 12 wins had been the most until we tied it in my first season then we had 15 last year and now we have 16,” Perdue said. “But we still have games left. We’re not done.

“I would love to see us win 20 games. When we started the season, we hoped for that. Now it is attainable.”

Three seniors (Taylor Beckley, Morgan Lanham and Kaleigh Westfall) remain from Perdue’s season as an assistant three years ago when PHS finished 2-14.

“I’m just so glad for the seniors,” Perdue said as PHS honored the team’s senior class from both dugouts before the first pitch.

Newbrough, meanwhile, showed no ill effects from getting hit in the chest by a batted ball one week ago. The junior righthander allowed just four hits, including Mallory Chapman’s RBI single with two outs in the top of the sixth inning which scored Kasey Hilpert from second base.

“That’s the best Cassidy has pitched since getting hit in the chest,” Perdue said. “She felt better, so when I saw her throw today I knew she was back.”

Newbrough received plenty of offensive support as PHS produced seven hits, including three for extra bases.

Rylee Boggess’ double with nobody out in the bottom of the first inning drove Lanham home with the game’s first run. Boggess later scored on a wild pitch to put the Big Reds in front 2-0.

A two-base fielding error by Magnolia in the third inning scored both Lanham and Boggess to increase the advantage to 4-0.

The Big Reds’ No. 9 hitter, Hailey Ball, led off the fifth inning with triple down the right field line and immediately scored when Lanham reached on an infield single.

The loudest hit of the day was delivered by Hilling to lead off the sixth inning. Before stepping to the plate, Hilling met Perdue in foul territory on the third base side and the two conferred about her approach. A strikeout victim her previous two at bats, Hilling sent the ball to straightaway center field. The fielder took one step toward the fence and stopped as the ball cleared for a solo homer – her fifth this year which is ties Brittany Allison for the team lead.

“I told Baylee to take a good look at the first pitch,” Perdue said. “I told her to try and hit it hard. I liked that better than the bunt. When she came around third base, I told her I like that plan better.”

Ball added an RBI base hit to complete the PHS scoring.

Chapman took the loss despite striking out eight. Neither starting pitcher walked a batter as both went the distance.

PHS, which played error-free softball, snapped Magnolia’s three-game winning streak and left the Blue Eagles sitting at 11-8.