CHARLESTON – The Ripley softball team has logged more miles this week than a Willie Nelson tour. The Ladies in blue had to take three swings at Riverside to knock them out of Region 4 Section 3 play on Saturday, 3-2 in eight innings in the Class AAA Region 3 Section 4 softball tournament.
Uncharacteristically, Ripley (22-9 MSAC 10-3) made nine errors in two games as Riverside took Ripley down 12-8 on a windy Friday evening to tie the three game series at one each. Ripley beat Riverside 4-0 on Thursday to kick off the play between the teams.
The rubber game was a battle as the teams headed to the bottom of the eighth inning tied at two. Miranda Murphy hit a fly ball to right center and the wind carries it further right, a Riverside outfielder loses control and the ball hits her in the chest and Murphy advances to second.
What happened next was quite welcomed by Ripley. Kelsey Moore dribbles a bouncer between the mound and third and a Lady Warrior third baseman hurled a high throw over the first baseman’s head. Coach Swisher waved Murphy home with the go-ahead run and Ripley celebrated their sectional championship on Lady Warrior soil.
“We scratched and clawed our way to that victory. We showed a tremendous amount of guts and courage. Those situations show the true identity of a team,” said Coach Ken Swisher.
Hannah Ford and Ashley Mellinger notched RBI hits in the game while Murphy, Sapphire Parsons and Kelsey Moore scored runs for Ripley.
Riverside’s season ends at (20-8).
The Lady Viking outfielders played exceptionally well considering the swirling wind that blew throughout the series. Every fly ball was a potential disaster waiting to happen.
“We are a better defensive team than we showed against Riverside. We have to play better defensively as we move forward,” said Swisher.
Ripley will face the Lady Eagles on Thursday in regional semifinal action.
Chelsey Hager had to endure six defensive errors on Friday night. She overcame the obstacles on Saturday and pitched a gutsy game and quite possible, her best game of the season considering what was at stake.
The junior hurler went eight innings and gave up two runs (zero earned) on nine hits. She struck out six Lady Warriors and was able to fan batters in situations where she needed an out with ducks on the pond.
Ripley will have a break in action this week but will host Sissonville in a makeup game from earlier in the Season. The game will serve as a tune-up for the girls before facing South Charleston on Thursday.