RIPLEY— The mark of any good team is responding to adversity, especially in crunch time situations like the one that occurred in the Ripley Lady Vikings regional semi-final matchup with the South Charleston Lady Black Eagles last Friday night.  Tied at one in the bottom of the seventh inning with two outs, Ripley’s Kelsey Moore stepped up and delivered the game winning RBI single, scoring Dusti Fisher and sending the Ripley Lady Vikings to the Class AAA Region 4 final for the second straight year.

“Boy, what a tough game,” said Lady Viking head coach Ken Swisher, “Give them credit, their game plan was outstanding.”

Senior ace Chelsey Hager was once again stellar on the mound, going the distance and earning the win for the Lady Vikes.  Hager’s final line was 7 innings pitched, one earned run, 4 hits, 1 walks, and 11 strikeouts.

“Again, Chelsey was on,” Swisher said, “She made them work for everything.”

South Charleston starter Amanda McDonald also pitched well, keeping the high-powered Lady Viking offense in check for most of the game.  

Leading the way at the plate for the Lady Vikings was Hager, who went 3-3 with a double and a run scored, Fisher, who went 2-3 with a stolen base and scored the winning run, catcher Ashley Mellinger, who went 1-2 with a double and an RBI, and Moore, who went 1-3.  Sierra Norris and Allie Hamilton each added a stolen base for the Lady Vikes.  For South Charleston, Jazmine Martin hit a home run, Aaliyah Phillips and Kelly Bare doubled, and Olivia Orcutt-Lazo went 1-3.
The victory brings the Lady Vikings one step closer to the state tournament, but they will face a stiff test in the regional final, as they go on the road to face off against Greenbrier East, who defeated Shady Spring 8-1 in their regional semi-final matchup last week.  

Swisher was jubilant with his team’s effort after Friday night’s victory, and was especially pleased with his team’s ability to stay focused.

“We never lost focus, even when things looked out of control,” Swisher said, “that’s the sign of a very good team.  It was a team win, with big hits from Dusti, Chelsey, Ashley and none any bigger than Kelsey’s winning single up the middle.”

Still, Swisher and his squad are both aware of what this win means and what they have left to do to fulfill their goals.

“We’re one of eight teams left,” Swisher concluded, “And it feels great.”

The Lady Vikings will have their chance to punch their ticket to the state tournament on Thursday night, as they travel to Greenbrier East to take on the Lady Spartans.