Six locals voted on to W.Va. Class A Softball first team
WHEELING — It is no secret that Wheeling Central has one solid Class A pitching tandem.
Last season, the duo of Marissa Garlitz and Riley Bennington led the Maroon Knights to a perfect 33-0 record and a state title. Both were first team all-staters.
With a bullseye on their back, a tough schedule and Bennington sidelined with an injury, it was up to Garlitz to keep the ship afloat.
The junior right-hander did that and more, leading Wheeling Central back to Vienna and earning three victories in the state tournament as the Maroon Knights won its second of back-to-back championships.
For her efforts, Garlitz was named captain of the West Virginia Class A all-state softball team, as selected by the West Virginia Sports Writers Association.
“She is a kid that really works hard,” Wheeling Central coach Rick Magruder said. “She doesn’t say a lot, she is a quiet kid, but she was phenomenal.
“She carried us the last few months and kept us in ball games, doing what she had to do. She is very unselfish and did whatever she could to win ball games.”
Garlitz pitched a one-hitter against Fayetteville in the opening round, and finished the season with an impressive 18-6 record with 184 strikeouts and a 1.47 ERA.
“She was very confident and would have finished for us if we needed her to,” Magruder said. “She is confident in her teammates and they are confident in her.”
Teammate Kaitlyn Ferns, arguably the Knights’ best hitter, also earned a first-team selection in the outfield. The sophomore, batted .422, hit four home runs (including a three-run shot in the state tournament), with 48 RBI, six doubles and 10 triples.
“Kaitlyn has grown by leaps and bounds, being just a freshman last year,” Magruder said. “Mostly as a
freshman, she just hit the ball. But this season, she played in outfield in and did a nice job for us there.”
Just to get to the state tournament, Central had to an extra-inning victory against Madonna.
The Blue Dons were led by first-team pitcher Katie Gasvoda and outfielder Sophia Rocrosio.
Gasvoda went 13-2 with 150 strikeouts, a 1.78 ERA and five no-hitters. Recrosio batted a Class A-high .607 with 21 RBI, seven doubles, three triples and one home run.
Sherman advanced the state title game with two victories in Vienna against Moorefield.
The Tide gave the Maroon Knights two close contests as well thanks in large part to freshman pitcher Autumn Thompson. Thompson (.484, four home runs, nine doubles, 24 RBI, 11-6) made the all-state team as a utility player along with Moorefield’s Rebekah Markwood (.467, 4 home runs, six triples, seven doubles, 5-2, 1.82 ERA), Clay-Battelle’s Caitlyn Kassay (.603, 12 doubles, 13 stolen bases, 10-3, 1.74 ERA, 135 strikeouts) and Tyler Consolidated’s Vanessa Templeton (.567, 29 runs, 28 RBI, 21 doubles, two triples, one home run; 1.25 ERA, 10-6, 162 K’s).
Tyler’s Madison West joins Ferns and Recrosio in the outfield. West batted .520 with 52 hits, 36 runs, 19 RBI, 13 doubles, two triples and a home run.
Moorefield made it to Vienna thanks in part to strong efforts from Markwood and first-team infielder Bethany Smith (.400, 13 doubles, three home runs, 26 RBIs, 40 runs).
Joining Smith in the infield is Wahama freshman Hanna Rose (.608, 57 runs, 28 stolen bases), Williamstown’s Courtney Dotson (.442, 11 RBI, seven doubles, four triples, 30 stolen bases) Ravenswood’s Skylar Mace (.483, five home runs, 39 RBI, 13 doubles, two triples, 10 stolen bases), and Midland Trail’s Taylor Dickerson (.506, two home runs).
Clay-Battelle junior Abbey Ammons (8-1, 1.37 ERA) and Richwood senior Kora Younts (14-5, 1.36 ERA, 121 strikeouts) joined Garlitz and Gasvoda as first-team pitchers.
Wirt County’s Skylar Bogan (.404, four home runs, 26 RBI, 12 doubles) and Ravenswood’s Bayli Manns (.500, seven home runs, 50 RBI, 10 doubles, seven stolen bases) filled the catcher positions.
Notre Dame sophomore Kira Riffle is the captain of the second team as a utility player. Joining her as a utility selection is Bishop Donahue’s Maddie Menendez, Moorefield’s Emma Baker and Wirt County’s Jessi Lockart.
The second team pitchers consist of Wheeling Central’s Bennington, Fayetteville’s Ashley Fridley, Williamstown’s Nellie King and Magnolia’s Ashley Tharp.
The catchers are Wahama’s Maddy Van Matre and Notre Dame’s Ashley Mordan. The outfielders consist of Ravenswood’s Claudia Cubides, Doddridge County’s Brooklyn Hinzman, and Summers County’s Tiffani Cline.
The infielders are Sherman’s Katlyn Jenkins, Buffalo’s Brooker Persinger, Summers County’s Whittney Justice, South Harrison’s Courtney Swenskie and Fayetteville’s Carrie Taylor.