HUTTONSVILLE - Tygarts Valley and Moorefield are set to clash at 3 p.m. today for the Class A, Region II championship in softball. The winner will advance to the state tournament in Vienna next week.
The Lady Bulldogs (7-10) are expected to send senior Charity Lower to the mound. Lower has notched eight wins this season. She struck out five batters Monday to help the Bulldogs defeated Notre Dame.
"She's confident," TVHS coach Hannah Sundberg said. "I think if she comes out strong, we'll do just fine. I've also preached defense to the girls. If the defense is on, it relieves your pitcher on the mound. It really helps to know they are there to back them up. I told her the defense is there, use it."
According to Sundberg, other key offensive contributors include seniors Danielle Johnson and Paige Pritt, along with junior MaKayla Harris and sophomore Lacey Conrad.
"We had two good practices this week," Sundberg said. "We need to come out with momentum, it will help us gain confidence. We played them fairly decent during the regular season. The girls are all fired up. This is the first girls softball team from the school to play for a regional title. Either way, we come away regional champs or we come away runner-up. We came a long way and I'm proud of my team."
Moorefield (22-6) defeated Pendleton County, 9-1, on May 16 to earn its trip to the title tilt. The Yellow Jackets intend to pitch senior Danica Rogers, who has won eight games this season.
"We've been at it everyday this week," MHS coach Tammy Ayers said. "I think we're ready. The pitchers have been throwing and we've been hitting off the pitching machine, to speed it up. We're just trying to take it one game at a time."
Senior Beth Cook is expected to pace the Yellow Jacket offense. Through 75 at-bats, she's hitting .587 with 44 hits including seven home runs, eight doubles, one triple, 23 RBIs and three strike outs. Ayers said key contributors to the offense include Brooke Riggleman, Kelsey Hines and Brooklin Gilbert.
"We've got smart, selective hitters," Ayers. "If we need a long fly ball for a sacrifice, they know what to do. If we have to play small ball and get a bunt, they can put it in play. We've got good contact hitters."