Lady Tornado takes sectional title

Chapin Jewell
Mineral Daily News-Tribune
The Keyser Lady Tornado pose with their sectional championship plaque after defeating Grafton 9-1.

KEYSER - With two outs in the top of the first inning, Grafton’s Frederique Maloley blasted a home run on a fly ball to right field. Advantage Bearcats. Fortunately for Keyser, that would the only offense Grafton would produce on the day. Carlie Del Signore answered that home run with one of her own to open the bottom of the first inning.

Keyser rounded the bases eight more times, Charity Wolfe and the defense held Grafton scoreless the rest of the way to claim the 9-1 victory and the sectional championship. The Lady Tornado end sectional play with an unblemished, 3-0 record, winning by forfeit/first-round bye over Frankfort in game one, blasting Berkeley Springs 18-0 in game two, and now Grafton 9-1 in game three.

Keyser's Alexa Shoemaker slides into home against Grafton.

“It feels good, this is what we set our minds out to do at the beginning of the year. Like I told them, it didn’t matter if you were 3-26 going into this or 26-3, this was our goal, to win the section. It hasn’t been done since 2012 or 2013, so it’s been awhile. It’s a good opportunity for us, the girls played a great game today,” Keyser coach Chris Shoemaker stated.

It was another dominating performance for Charity Wolfe in the circle. Wolfe went the full six innings, striking out six, walking none, giving up one run on three hits.

“Charity threw another great game. She gave up the first inning home run and then only two other hits. She did what she needed to do.  She threw the pitches that we called and hit her spots,” Shoemaker explained.

Mia Chambers and Frederique Maloley combined in the circle for Grafton in the loss, collectively striking out six, walking five, giving up nine runs on 11 hits.

Between the stellar pitching and hitting that the Lady Tornado excel at game after game, sometimes the excellent play of the defense gets lost in the shuffle. Shoemaker was quick to point out the excellent defensively play put forth by Keyser.

According to Shoemaker, “The defense played great. One inning they had a girl on first base with no outs. They hit a ground ball to Morgan (Pratt) and we turn a four-six-three double play to take some momentum away from them. Morgan Pratt made two or three great plays and so did Carlie (Del Signore), on pop-ups, turning their hips and going and getting the balls.”

“Sometimes those drop in, and that is what kills you. But, the defense played great today,” Shoemaker explained.

“Through the lineup, we just don’t have a weakness, hitting wise. We had a lot of hits tonight, and we had tally hits, which, there’s been games that we really haven’t had. Tonight, Hailey Massie had a hit and so did Morgan, where they drove runs in with two outs. Just tally hitting, we hit the ball good and we got them when we needed them tonight,” Shoemaker stated.

Carlie Del Signore and Alexa Shoemaker led the way for Keyser with three hits each, one of the three for both was a home run. Del Signore added an RBI and scored two runs. Shoemaker added an RBI and scored three runs.

Makayla Gillaspie, Aly Smith, Hailey Massie, Charity Wolfe, and Morgan Pratt each had one hit apiece for Keyser. Gillaspie’s hit was a home run, the rest all hit singles. Gillaspie added an RBI and scored one run. Smith scored one run. Massie added two RBI’s and scored a run. Wolfe and Pratt each added two RBI’s apiece.

In the loss, Grafton was led offensively by Frederique Maloley, Jordan Niggemyer, and Aubrey Collins with one hit each. Maloley’s hit was a home run, the rest all hit singles.

The game got started with a long rain delay. The Grafton players and coaches were quick to jump up and lend the hand in helping Keyser tarp the field. During the double-header played between the two teams in the regular season, Grafton picked up pizza between games for their players to eat, and brought two boxes of pizza into the Keyser dugout for the Lady Tornado.  All in all, superior sportsmanship has ruled the day with the two programs.

“I told their coaches that they are a delight to play. They are a classy, classy program, they are. The girls have fun, they were having fun and dancing during the rain delay and in each other’s dugouts. He’s doing a great job. They’ve got great players. It’s a quality team,” Shoemaker explained.