By Michael Minnich
Tribune Sports Editor
KEYSER—Both Mountain Ridge and Keyser flat-out hit the softball early on Thursday evening.
But while KHS took a breath or two after a strong start, MRHS kept right on puffing along.
The Lady Miners scored four runs in the top of the second and six each in the top of the third and fourth innings, winning by mercy rule over the Lady Tornado, 18-3, at Ron Mathias and Friends Field.
Tessa Lutton and Molly Winner both homered for MRHS, driving in five and three runs, respectively, with Lutton scoring three runs and adding a double.
Kayla Stickley crossed the plate four times, while Courtney Shoemake had two hits to help her own cause in the circle.
For Keyser, Madison Rotruck hit a two-run home run and Katlynn Tichnell singled twice.
Lutton hit a solo home run with one out in the top of the first to open scoring, then Stickley and Winner singled to put runners on the corners.
Kailia Pua’auli followed with an RBI single: 2-0.
But a ground ball and a Madi Anderson strikeout of McKenna Broadwater looking spared KHS further damage.
Tichnell reached on an error to start the KHS first, then Rotruck hit a deep two-run shot to left-center field.
Anderson was hit by the next pitch, then Tori Kane reached on an error.
Gabby Long’s sacrifice fly pushed a fired-up KHS team ahead, 3-2.
But Mountain Ridge got rolling again in the second: with two outs and a runner on first, a walk to Lutton, and  a Stickley RBI single tied the game.
Then, the pivotal moment: Winner launched a 2-2 pitch over the fence to move MR ahead, 6-3.
Tichnell and Anderson singled but KHS could not score in the second.
MR loaded the bases with one out in the third, and everyone was safe on a Maddi Rounds fielder’s choice, scoring a run.
Lutton’s two-RBI double pushed the lead to 9-3, then a wild pitch and two errors pushed it to 12-3.
Long’s single, a walk to Camryn Barrick, and a Camryn Blacka single had KHS in good position, but Long was tagged out at the plate trying to score on the play.
Alicen Steele started the MR fourth with a double, Broadwater singled, then Jona Harris launched an RBI double.
Against reliever Aubrey Smith, MR scored a run on a wild pitch, then Lutton drove in two with a single and an error scored two more: 18-3.
In the Keyser fourth, Tichnell singled, Anderson reached on a fielder’s choice, then Tori Kane singled to load the bases with one out.
But Shoemake struck out Long and got Barrick to ground out to bring the mercy rule into effect.
Mountain Ridge visits Southern tomorrow at 4:30 p.m., while Keyser hosts Northern tomorrow at 12 p.m.