KEYSER - Over the weekend, Keyser played host to the sixth annual Ron Mathias Memorial Softball Tournament.

By Chapin Jewell
Tribune Correspondent
KEYSER - Over the weekend, Keyser played host to the sixth annual Ron Mathias Memorial Softball Tournament.  
After two days of softball with teams from throughout the region, in the end, the local crowd got what they wanted, a Keyser versus Frankfort championship for all the marbles.
Keyser defeated Frankfort in the title game 4-0, avenging an earlier 6-5 loss to the Falcons. The two will square off in the rubber match again this Thursday at KHS.
As tournaments go, the Ron Mathias Tournament was top notch, not only for the quality of softball played or the desired title game matchup, but rather for the hard work and dedication that went into making it a memorable experience for all involved. What more would you expect from a tournament named after a dedicated, passionate philanthropist like Ron Mathias, whose vision for Keyser softball and the complex that bears his name is carried on so admirably through the Mathias family and countless dedicated volunteers surrounding the program?
After the tournament, Keyser coach Craig Rotruck was asked who could be thanked for the success and quality of the tournament.  According to Rotruck, “For starters, the Mathias family, Carol Mathias, Dr. Ronna Mathias Monseau, DJ and Michelle Anderson take great pride in putting on the tournament in memory of their husband/dad/father in law.  Also, the KHS and Keyser Middle parents who showed up at 7 a.m. and took the tarp off so my coaching staff and I could get the field ready. Also, the softball moms for putting together a great hospitality tent and Jill Blacka for running the concessions.”
Frankfort coach Charlie Kenney commended the folks in Keyser for a tournament well done, and stressed the advantages of playing in it from a competitive standpoint.  According to Kenney, “Keyser puts a lot of hard work into making the tournament work, especially this year with the rain. The tournament is a great way to see competition that we normally wouldn’t see during the regular season, so it’s good thing for all teams because we really can’t scout too much so we just put our best foot forward and have to make in-game changes sometimes.”
The Lady Tornado advanced to the tournament championship game against Frankfort by collectively pummeling their first three opponents 33-6. Keyser opened play with a 7-1 defeat of Lincoln and 12-4 victory over Grafton, both on Friday before the rain hit.  On Saturday at noon, Keyser trounced Preston 14-1 for a trip to the championship game.
Frankfort’s path to the tournament title game came by way of two shutout victories. First, on Friday, at a game held at Potomac State, the Lady Falcons shutout Lincoln 4-0. On Saturday morning at Keyser, Frankfort blanked Grafton 8-0.  
When the two Mineral County foes squared off in the title game, play began without a score through the top of the third inning.  In fact, in four of the five team at bats through that point, each was retired three up and three down, with the exception of one Keyser at bat that went merely four players at the plate.
In the top of the third inning, Keyser hit pay dirt, scoring the game’s first run. Despite tacking on three additional runs in the fourth inning, that third-inning run would be all the Lady Tornado needed as Frankfort was held scoreless throughout the game.
Lexi Turner would score that first Keyser run from third base on a double by Carlie Delsignore. Turner walked to get on base with one out. Carlie’s sister Claire Delsignore grounded out to advance Turner to third and set things up for Carlie to drive Turner in with the double.
Aubrey Smith got things started for the Black and Gold in the bottom of the fourth inning with a single. Smith was replaced on base by Lucy Jordan. Hailey Massie then doubled on a line drive to right field, advancing herself to second and Jordan to third. After a pop out, Courtney Minnick walked to load the bases.  
With the bases loaded, Hailey Rotruck grounded into a fielder’s choice and Lucy Jordan was thrown out at home as Frankfort third baseman Emily Horn connected with catcher Kylee McGuire.  With two outs and runners on second and third, Lexi Turner singled on a hard ground ball to first base, scoring Caitlyn Wolfe to give Keyser a 2-0 lead. Claire Delsignore then singled on a fly ball to left field to score Courtney Minnick and Hailey Rotruck and give Keyser the winning 4-0 advantage.
“Keyser is a legit softball program and we know we have to be at our best against them. We did not execute the things we needed to and couldn’t pull off the win. We will go back to work to make sure we are prepared this week to face them again,” Frankfort coach Charlie Kenney said in reflection.
According to Keyser coach Craig Rotruck, “The Frankfort game was a lot like the first game. This time, Aubrey (Smith) was dominant; it was easily the best game she’s pitched all year.  We had a couple of timely hits and took advantage of a Frankfort mental error with two outs in the fourth.”
Aubrey Smith was indeed dominant on the rubber for Keyser, going the full seven innings, striking out six, walking two, and giving up only three hits in the shutout victory. Allison Kenney and Marie Perdew combined efforts in the loss for Frankfort.  Kenney went the first three and one-thirds innings, striking out none, walking two, and giving up four runs on six hits. Perdew allowed four hits in two and two-thirds innings of shutout pitching, stiking out none and walking none.
At the plate, Keyser was led by Carlie Delsignore, Aubrey Smith and Lexi Turner, each with two hits apiece. Carlie Delsignore doubled twice, contributing an RBI. Smith and Turner each singled twice with Tuner adding an RBI. Claire Delignore singled to drive in two runs.  
Frankfort’s three hits came from Marie Perdew with two singles; Rachel Noah had the third Frankfort hit, also a single.
“We get to do it again here Thursday and then hopefully we’ll advance to play them (Frankfort) down there in the playoffs. It’s always a dog fight against them,” Keyser’s Rotruck said of the title game and the Keyser/Frankfort rivalry.
In the wake of the Ron Mathias Memorial Tournament, Keyser’s season record stands at 16-4; Frankfort currently stands at 10-4.  The two will play again at Keyser on Thursday.
It was a great two days of softball and everyone involved should be commended for a job well done. The softball was excellent and the tournament had all the extras that make it special and a memorable experience for all involved. There was the added bonus of a Keyser versus Frankfort matchup in the finals.  At the conclusion of the trophy ceremony, Keyser and Frankfort joined together in a show of great sportsmanship, with many arms draped around one another, to take a commemorative picture. It was a special moment, the perfect ending to a special tournament.