PARKERSBURG – The ninth ranked AAA Ripley High School softball team weren't their normal efficient selves on the defensive side of the diamond last week, but as good teams most often do, they found a way to squeeze past the Parkersburg Lady Reds in game one of a double header and inch closer to sectional competition next month.
The squad is playing without two very important spokes in their blue and white wheel. Junior All State pitcher Reese Gandee has had to rest a troublesome elbow and infielder Meghan Brannon is lost for the season with a broken bone in her wrist that will require surgery. The junior slugger was hitting over (.500) and having a tremendous 2013 campaign.
Chelsey Hager has stepped into a leadership role on the mound for coach ken Swisher's ball club. The junior, who also swings a potent stick, found success for her squad in a 7-6 victory over Parkersburg.
Ripley (14-4, MSAC 10-1) took game one of the twin bill on the strength of clutch RBI hits from Hager, Dusti Fisher, Ali Cunningham, Hannah Ford, Kelsey Moore and freshman Darby Petersen.
Hager managed to overcome her team's shaky defense on this night by going the distance while fanning six hitters and surrendering only two earned runs.
In the hitting department: Kelsey Moore 1-for-3,RBI, two stolen bases and a run, Ali Cunningham 2-for-5, double, RBI, stolen base and a run, Dusti Fisher 2-for-3,RBI and a run, Ashley Mellinger 2-for-3, Chelsey Hager was 1-for-3, RBI and a run, Darby Petersen had an RBI, Myranda Murphy went 1-for-4 with a run scored, Sapphire Parsons 2-for-3, a run and a stolen base and Hannah Ford was 2-for-3 with an RBI, a run and two stolen bases.
In game two, the Lady Vikes managed just three hits and Parkersburg took the contest, 8-0.
Starting pitcher Darby Petersen gave up just two earned runs but the Lady Vikings committed two errors on the night that skewed a solid pitching performance.
Petersen went five innings and fanned two batters while walking three.
Myranda Murphy, Chelsey Hager and Ashley Mellinger notched Ripley's only hits in the game.
The Lady Vikings defeated Woodrow Wilson last week, 7-1. The game was won on the strength of a combined six hitter hurled by Chelsey Hager and Karly Fitzsimmons.
Montana Kershner, Tori Anderson, Sapphire Parsons and Kelsey Moore notched RBI hits in the game.
Ripley traveled to Moorefield over the weekend for a tournament. See full coverage of the tourney and a feature story on Chelsey Hager in a future edition of JN.