RIPLEY – A busy summer for the Ripley 9-10 year old Girls All-Star softball team has brought them all the way to the WV Little League State Tournament.
Ripley began play in an area tournament on June 20 against three other teams, Elk District, Sissonville, and Ravenswood. Ripley opened the tournament with a big win over Ravenswood. Led by the pitching of Ellizanna Hershey, Ripley cruised to an easy 14-2 mercy rule win after four innings. Olivia Parsons went 3-for-3 at the plate with a single, double, and a triple, followed by Mya Casto going 2-for-4 with a double and a triple.
That set up a winner’s bracket matchup with Elk District for a spot in the District Tournament. Elk District, last year’s state runner-up, jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning, adding two more runs for an early 5-0 lead over Ripley.
Cassidy Cummings had Ripley’s only hit through three innings, but Ripley got a kick start in the fourth when Casto led off with a walk and McKennan Hall drove a ball in the gap for a inside the park home run to cut the lead to 5-2. The score stayed the same until the bottom of the fifth, when Mya Phalen led off with a walk, Casto singled, Hall singled, Hershey singled and Parsons singled to tie the game at 5. Ripley was able to hold Elk to no runs in the top of the sixth and give themselves a chance to win it in the bottom of the inning. Deandra Wentz led off the sixth with a single, then stole second and advanced to third on a ground ball hit by Kaitlin Swisher.
Two pitches later Wentz scored on a wild pitch to win the game 6-5 and send Ripley to the District Tournament.
Ripley opened up districts with an 11-1 win over South Charleston. This set up a rematch with Elk, which defeated Winfield in their first game of the district tournament. In the rematch, Elk avenged their earlier loss, defeating Ripley 3-1. Ripley had only four base runners the entire game and only three hits, one each from Cummings, Hershey, and Swisher. Ripley then had to fight their way through the loser’s bracket. They did just that, defeating Winfield 5-2 to advance to the state tournament.
In the bottom of the first, Ripley was able to load the bases, but only got one run on a bases loaded walk to Parsons. Ripley once again loaded the bases in the second, with walks to Sidney Varney, Casto, and Cummings. Then, Hershey hit a deep drive to the left field fence for a bases clearing double. Parsons followed with a triple to give Ripley a 5-0 lead.
Winfield made a late inning rally to try to stay alive, but Ripley’s defense stopped them from doing enough damage. Ripley advanced to the state tournament with a 5-2 win.
The WV State Tournament is set for July 15 in Huntington.