COLUMBUS - The West Virginia Wicked (9-10-2) 18U softball team had a late season surge

COLUMBUS - The West Virginia Wicked (9-10-2) 18U softball team had a late season surge that had them winning their region and advancing to the USSSA fast pitch Midwest sanctioned World Series in Columbus Ohio last weekend.

The tournament featured teams from the United States and Canada.

The girls came out of the gates on fire and won their first three tournament games. They ran into tough pitching from Kentucky and Ohio based teams that eventually kept them from making a deeper run.
The Wicked got good piching from Reese Gandee, Dusti Fisher and Karly Fitzsimmons throughout the season and post season.

In game one the girls faced an Illinois based squad and won 18-5 on the strength of Ali Cunningham and Ryne Hill's inside the park home runs

Hill went 4-for-5 with three RBIs. Ashley Mellinger went 3-for-5 with two RBIs, Karly Fizsimmons went 3-for-5, Allie Cunningham went 2-for-5 1 RBI, Abby Brannon went 3-for-5 with an RBI and a triple and Reese Gandee went 2-for-4 with a double.

Game two found the girls facing an Ohio based team. The Wicked were victorious 8-0. Catcher Ashley Mellinger led the way offensively. Mellinger went 3-for-3 with an RBI and a homerun.

She also hit one through the fence that was ruled a ground rule double. Allie Cunningham went 2-for-2 with an RBI and a triple.

The girls faced an Indiana based team in game three. The Wicked won a tight one 4-2. Ashley Mellinger went 2-for-3 with an RBI and two Doubles, Abby Brannon went 2-for-3 with a double and Sapphire Parsons went 2-for-2.

In game four the Wicked took a 9-0 thumping and had trouble getting anything consistent going on offense. Allie Cunningham went 1-for-2 with a double. Kayla Ford went 1-for-2 and Sapphire Parsons went 1-for-2.

Game five was the end of the road for the girls as they fell to a good Ohio based team 4-2 (different team than game two). Allie Cunningham went 2-for-4, Ryne Hill went 3-for-4 with two doubles and Ashley Mellinger went 3-for-3.

"If these girls hit next spring like they have the last two weeks I really believe they can make a serious run for Ripley High School," said head coach David Gandee.

Reese Gandee (pitcher), Ali Cunningham (outfield)Ashley Mellinger (catcher) and Ryne Hill (third base, outfield) each earned individual game MVPs for their work on the field.

Coach Gandee and CoachDoug Vannest spoke proudly of the effort the team gave them this summer.

"It was an honor working with them I just want to thank the team and everyone who helped us out for all of their hard work," said coach Vannest.