Ripley falls to Cabell Midland, 13-9
RIPLEY — In a winner-take-all game three here Wednesday during the Class AAA, Region IV series, Cabell Midland advanced to next week’s state tournament by knocking off Ripley in a slugfest, 13-9.
Knight cleanup hitter Olivia Pelfrey put the visitors ahead with a two-run bomb in the first off losing pitcher Chloe Shinn and she finished 3 for 3 with two homers and six runs-batted-in.
CMHS got the first of two home runs from No. 9 hitter K.K. Wallis when the center fielder had a solo shot to highlight a three-run fourth.
Down 5-0, the Vikings of skipper Ken Swisher managed to draw even thanks to a five-run inning off winning pitcher Jess Terry.
Kyra Winter started the fourth with a single and Aaliyah Baldwin did the same. Grace Walsh bunted with two strikes, reached on a single and a throwing error allowed pinch-runner Jenna Farrell to cross. After McKennan Hall’s RBI knock plated pinch-runner Mya Casto, Terry recorded the first two outs of the fourth. However, Kaitlyn Swisher launched a three-run tater to center to square it.
The emotional high for the Vikings was short-lived as the Knights (26-9) took control by responding with a five-run top of the fifth. Wallis’ two-run jack to deep left was later followed by a Hailey Roe RBI double. Pelfrey and Jenna Dorsey also delivered run-scoring singles.
Ripley (23-7) made it a 10-6 game thanks to a solo round-tripper to right-center from Cassidy Cummings in the fifth.
Quinn Ballengee, who replaced Terry after the homer by Cummings, worked the rest of the fifth and the sixth before Terry came back in for the seventh.
The Vikings pushed across two more runs in the last of the sixth to make it 10-8. Ballengee opened the frame with consecutive free passes to Belle Casto and Swisher.
Cummings had a one-out RBi single to left and Farrell came through with an RBI fielder’s choice. Although Baldwin singled to put runners on second and third, Ballengee fanned Walsh to get out of the jam.
Pelfrey’s three-run jack to left in the top of the seventh gave head coach Herman Beckett’s program a 13-8 cushion.
Sidney Varney, who worked the last two frames inside the circle, singled with one out in the seventh. After back-to-back four-pitch walks by Terry to Casto and Swisher, Elli Hershey had an RBI fielder’s choice. However, Terry got Cummings to pop back up to her for the final out.
“You got two good teams here,” admitted coach Swisher. “I think they had a little more luck on their part. We actually did not get our best performance out of our pitchers, but that’s the way it is sometimes. I couldn’t ask for a better group. Get down five, fight back, tie it up and they got back up and we fight back and almost tie it again.”
Rielly Lucas, who had homers in the first two games of the series, reached base in all five plate appearances. She finished 2 for 2 with a pair of doubles, four runs scored and a stolen base. Dorsey joined Pelfrey in collecting a trio of hits.
Ripley, which received a rare 7-5 double play to end the sixth when Farrell made a catch near the fence in foul territory and fired a dart to Cummings at third, stranded 10 with seven in scoring position while going 4 for 17 with runners in scoring position.
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