So close!: Lady Campers edge Lady Tornado 3-2

Chapin Jewell
Mineral Daily News-Tribune
Sophomore Charity Wolfe turned in a quality pitching performance for Keyser against Allegany Wednesday.
Morgan Pratt led Keyser offensively with a double and triple against Allegany.

LaVALE - The stage was set for a terrific storyline on Wednesday at Lions Field in Lavale. In the circle for Allegany, Division I Maryland commit and senior Kyra Pittman.  For Keyser, sophomore Charity Wolfe, on the very day she got her drivers license. Through the second out of the seventh inning, Wolfe and her Lady Tornado teammates held the 2-0 advantage, then it happened, three surprise runs for Allegany to give the Campers the 3-2 win.

It was a heartbreaker for sure for the Keyser fans in attendance and for those keeping tabs via social media. Even in heartbreak, however, fans on both sides couldn’t help but laud Keyser with praise on a job well done.

“They played great. We did everything we needed to do I thought to win that game. I think we did leave a run out there, we should have had another run on a tag-up, we’ve not been executing our tag-ups recently. It happened this weekend and it happened again today, it cost us potentially a third run,” Keyser coach Chris Shoemaker stated after the contest.

Sophomore Charity Wolfe was spectacular in her seven-inning performance, so too was the Keyser defense.

“Our defense was great. Charity, she went toe to toe with a D 1 pitcher, she deserved a win there, she threw a great game. They barreled up very few balls against her, she did a good job,” Shoemaker stated.

In particular, Wolfe was effective at hitting first pitch strikes throughout the contest, the importance of which the coaches preach.

According to Shoemaker, “We preach that first pitch strikes are important to get the advantage in her favor, and in our favor defensively. She did a great job doing that, she really did.”

Wolfe went the full six and two thirds innings, striking out four, walking two, and giving up three runs on seven hits. All three runs were scored with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning.

In the victory, Allegany’s Kyra Pittman also went the distance. In seven innings, Pittman struck out eight, walked one, and gave up two runs on five hits.

Offensively, Keyser was led by Morgan Pratt, the lone Tornado to score two hits against the powerhouse Pittman. Pratt’s two hits were a double and a triple. The first double scored Hailey Massie to give Keyser the 1-0 lead in the top of the second inning. The triple allowed Pratt to score when Claire Del Signore grounded out on the next play to give Keyser the 2-0 lead in the top of the fourth inning.

“She squared up a couple of good balls, she probably had the most hits today, the hardest hits as well. That’s like I have said before, on any given night, it’s a different player stepping up for us. That’s the good thing, I think we have a lot of depth and the girls showed that today,” Shoemaker stated.

Carlie Del Signore, Hailey Massie, and Claire Del Signore also had hits for Keyser. Massie scored one run; Claire Del Signore netted an RBI.

In addition to quality pitching, outstanding defensive play on behalf of the Golden Tornado allowed Keyser to maintain the 2-0 lead until the very end.

In the bottom of the fourth inning for example, Allegany had runners on first and third. Abbi Britton hit the ball to second baseman Morgan Pratt, who flipped it to shortstop Carle Del Signore, who tagged second and threw a zinger to first baseman Alexa Shoemaker in one of the prettiest double play executions you’ll see.

“I’m proud of the defense, we made tremendous plays on some balls that they hit and got out of a couple innings there when they had girls on first and second or second and third, we turned a double play,” Shoemaker stated. “The girls gave 110 percent today and it was a great effort. I couldn’t be more pleased, we were right there.”

Unfortunately for Keyser, it unraveled with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning. Allegany’s Ryland Kienhofer, Skyler Porter, and Katie Sterne hit back to back to back singles. Samara Funk then singled to center field to score all three and deliver the 3-2 victory for Allegany.

Kienhofer and Porter delivered two hits each to lead Allegany. Sterne, Funk, and Kyra Pittman each had one hit apiece. Funk is credited with three RBI’s.

“Obviously we feel great. I told them I wouldn’t have felt any different about them if we lost 2-0 or won 3-2, I still would have felt the same about them,” Allegany coach Brian Miller said after the contest. “They didn’t give up the whole game. It obviously feels pretty good and it says a lot about these kids, these seniors are great. They are great players and great leaders.”

Miller was quick to credit for a quality performance and for having a quality team.

“I watched them play last week against Northern, they’re great. They’ve got great coaches, I wish them the best in the playoffs, they’re terrific obviously. They played well enough to win,” Miller stated.

In the loss, Keyser’s Chris Shoemaker sees the value in the experience gained by going toe to toe with a quality, talented team like Allegany. Shoemaker feels the experience will pay dividends for Keyser moving forward.

“That’s what I told them, this is another good gut check for us. We came out on the short side of this one but these are the teams you’re going to have to beat to win a region title, to make it to a state tournament,” Shoemaker explained.

According to Shoemaker, “As good as Allegany is, they’re probably going to go deep in their tournament. I think we’re right there with them. As good as they are, we’re just as good. It’s good for us to get some games like this, we haven’t had many.”

Keyser (14-2) next travels to Musselman for a double header on Friday, with games starting at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m.