Titans roll Raiders
Gilmer wins conference title over Roane, 10-1
By JAY W. BENNETT
GLENVILLE — Gilmer County rode the right arm of Carrah Ferguson and a stout defense here Thursday night in the Little Kanawha Conference championship game at Sue Morris Sports Complex to a 10-1 six-inning mercy rule victory against Roane County.
The LKC crown for head coach Wendell Tomblin was the first in school history.
Ferguson scattered seven hits and allowed just one run in the title game and also carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning during a 3-1 semifinal triumph versus Ritchie County as she finished with a two-hitter.
“I told you we might surprise people,” said Tomblin, whose team scored thrice in the first against the Raiders and never looked back. “I told you. We’ve been playing well lately.
“The first game (our defense) was pretty tough. I told them before we played Roane there’s no LKC championship emblem up there (pointing to the backstop) and after this game I want one. They produced. They did.”
Ferguson walked to open the title game against losing pitcher Allie Mace, who was charged with nine runs, but only one earned as the Raiders made seven errors.
After Taylor McHenry sacrificed, she reached on a throwing error that allowed Ferguson to score.
Catcher Emma Taylor followed with an RBI bunt single and another throwing error allowed her to reach third. She scored on Sara McCumbers’ RBI sac fly for a 3-0 cushion.
“It’s just in the heart. We did what we had to do and every ball stopped basically. Just heart. Carrah pitched great. We work together really good and like I said it’s heart. We wanted it really bad.”
The Raiders (18-8) of head coach Sam Salvucci got their only run in the bottom of the first when leadoff hitter Katie Gaughan, who finished 3 for 3, reached via a bunt single and scored on Mace’s RBI knock to left.
Gilmer County (15-12) got that run back in the top of the second when Taylor Mathess reached on an error, was sacrificed to second by Jaycie Johnson and scored on McHenry’s standup RBI three-bagger to right-center.
“I don’t know what happened,” admitted Salvucci, whose club rallied past Ravenswood 9-7 in the semifinals. “We’re going to get as far away from it until Monday when we practice.”
The Titans broke it open and sealed their long awaited LKC title with a six-run sixth that featured just three hits and a quartet of Roane County errors.
Gilmer County sent 10 batters to the plate. McCumbers and Autumn Frymier reached on consecutive errors and after Mace was lifted in favor of Ashlyn Spears, she plunked Jada Gray on the first pitch and was then removed on a 3-0 count to Mathess. Mathess ended up reaching on an error as Mace came back in to pitch. Johnson then delivered a run-scoring double to center. Ferguson also had an RBI double and McHenry knocked in a run with a single to right.
Autumn Law, who singled to open the third and was replaced by pinch-runner McKinzie White, watched from the dugout as White was left stranded at third following a diving catch in center to end the frame by Raider Halle Farmer to rob Gray.
“It feels pretty good,” expressed Ferguson. “I’m really proud of our defense. That’s probably one of the best defensive games we’ve ever played before and I’m really happy we put it on a game like this.
“We just came in knowing we had to play hard and we just gave it our all and that’s what it took.”
When asked about allowing a single to open the seventh against Rebel pitcher Chloe Elliott and losing the no-hitter Ferguson replied, “nope. I don’t care at all. We won and that’s all that matters.”
Gray had an outfield assist in the second when she gunned down Abby Cummings trying to stretch a single into a double.
McHenry, the Titans’ shortstop, also had a sliding backhanded stop in the third to end the inning after she fired across the diamond to retire Katie Young.
Gilmer County also got a web gem from Frymier at the hot corner when she backhanded a one hop smoked shot off the bat of Mace and made the play to end the fifth.
Kaydence Steele finished 2 for 3 with a double in the title game setback.
The Titans scored a pair of runs in the first and made it stand against the Rebels, who watched Elliott take the complete game loss with six strikeouts.
Ritchie County got its lone RBI from Ashley Davis. The Titans had runs-batted-in from Taylor and Mathess.
Ravenswood (17-10) couldn’t hold off the Raiders in the semifinals as Spears’ three-run bomb to center in the fifth proved to be the difference. Spears finished 3 for 3 with four RBIs. Mace also added a two-run blast in the first and knocked in a trio of runs.
The Red Devils were led in their semifinal setback by Rylin Tabor’s 3 for 4 effort that included two RBIs. Hannah Smith also went 2 for 4 with three runs scored, a triple and a run-batted-in.
In the consolation game, Jamie Naylor was credited with the win and Libby Hall the save as head coach Cindy Carmichael’s squad doubled up the Rebels of head man Dave Mossor, 6-3.
Tabor knocked in two more runs as she went 2 for 4 with a double and a triple. Hall also had a pair of RBIs.
Ritchie County (16-10) received an RBI apiece from Bri Jones and Bre Edwards.