VIENNA - The Mid-Ohio Valley's only representative in the Class AAA state softball tournament didn't get to stay long.
Ripley not only dropped the opening game on Wednesday, 6-1, to Wheeling Park, but the Vikings also came out on the short end of a 10-inning thriller in an elimination game won by Musselman, 3-2.
Although four games were supposed to be played, only three were completed before rain and lightning halted the proceedings at approximately 8 p.m.
When play resumes -it's scheduled to start at 9 a.m. today, weather permitting -Wheeling Park and Lincoln County will play the winner's bracket game with the winner earning a berth in the finals.
The loser of that game then will meet Musselman to determine the other berth in the championship.
Tournament officials are hoping to complete play today as schedule, but the weather reminded them on Wednesday they are not totally in control.
Opening Round Games
Wheeling Park 6,
Although the scorebook shows Wheeling Park beat Ripley 6-1 in Thursday's Class AAA state softball tournament opener, one could say Ripley beat Ripley.
The Vikings committed three errors in the fourth inning, allowing Wheeling Park to score four runs, which was more than enough for Patriot pitcher Skylar Carrington, who threw a complete game five-hitter.
The game began as a classic pitching duel between Carrington and Ripley's Chelsey Hager. At the midway point of the game, neither team had scored and only Wheeling runner had reached base.
Then came the fateful bottom of the fourth. Of the first four Wheeling Park batters in the inning, one singled and the other three reached on Ripley errors. All four came around to score and that was all the support Carrington would need.
Ripley's only run came in the seventh when Myranda Murphy led off with a single, advanced on a Wheeling Park error and scored on Kelsey Moore's RBI single. But it was too little and too late for the Vikings.
Lincoln County 9,
Lincoln County's Brooke West and Megan Tully were too much for Musselman, leading the Panthers to a 9-1 opening-round win in a game halted after five innings due to the eight run mercy rule.
West pitched the first three innings for Lincoln, surrendering a lone run in the third when Musselman put together three singles. At the plate, she went for 3-for-3, with two singles, a double, a walk, a stolen base, a run scored and an RBI.
Meanwhile, Tully provided all the offense the Panthers would need, belting a two-run home run in the third and a two-run double in the fourth, when Lincoln County scored four times to take an 8-1 lead.
With that comfortable cushion on the scoreboard, Lincoln County pulled West in favor Faith Huffman, who struck out five of the seven Musselman batters she faced to preserve the win.
West drove in the run that gave Lincoln the eight-run margin, singling in Sarah Pennington in the fifth.
Loser's Bracket Final
Ripley 2, 10 innings
The final game of the day turned out to be the most competitive as Musselman and Ripley -fighting each other for their tournament lives -hooked up in a marathon 10-inning affair before the Applemen scored the game-winning run in the top of the 10th, sending home the Vikings with a 22-9 record.
Ripley's Chelsey Hager pitched a complete game for the Vikings, allowing single runs in the third, sixth and 10th innings. Musselman plated what proved to be the winning run with two out and Brittany Ingram on first when designated player Kelsey Jenkins ripped a double down the right field line and when Ripley mishandled the relay, Ingram came home.
The Vikings, who scored twice in the second inning despite getting just one hit in the frame -an RBI single by Kelsey Moore -couldn't get their offense rolling as Ripley managed just seven hits off of two Musselman pitchers, starter Sabrina Shroades, who hurled the first four innings and winner Taylor Stocks, who took the mound for the final six frames, keeping the Vikings off the scoreboard and allowing just four hits.