CHARLESTON - A team winning four consecutive state championships is a rare feat.
In fact, there have been just 43 instances in the history of the West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission in which a team has won four straight titles. That total is descreased significantly, to 16 times, when the sport's champion is determined by a collective production instead of an aggregate score of individuals.
To lend further context to the rarity of what the Buffalo High School softball team accomplished by winning its fourth consecuttive Class A state championship in 2014, the SSAC has awarded 891 team championships in such team sports since its inception. Only 2.9 percent of the time has a champion been the winner of its fourth title in a row or more.
Ogden Newspapers photo by Jeff Baughan
Moorefield's Danica Rogers, left, throws to first after fielding a bunt as teammates Tara George, center, and Brooke Riggleman, right, watch during state tournament play. Rogers was selected to the first team Class A All-State squad on Tuesday.
It is somewhat fitting, then, that the West Virginia Sports Writers Association honored not just one, but two Buffalo standouts with captaincy of the Class A All-State team, released Tuesday. Senior Chelsey Parkins and junior Ali Burdette were selected as the first co-captains of an All-State softball team since the organization began selecting the teams in 2005.
Both Parkins - who was the All-State captain as a junior 2013 - and Burdette were listed as pitchers on the 18-player All-State roster. Parkins finished the season with a 14-4 record, an earned run average of 1.10 and 128 strikeouts.
Burdette was 13-3 with a 0.61 ERA and 143 strikeouts. Burdette hit .495 with three home runs and 26 RBI, 10 doubles and two triples and stole 19 bases.
Parkins hit .485 with five homers, 35 RBI, 12 doubles, five triples and 25 steals.
Parkins and Burdette were repeat selections to the team, as was Buffalo senior outfielder Katie Higginbotham, who hit .400 with 17 RBI, seven doubles and stole 17 bases.
The remainder of the All-State pitching staff included Wheeling Central senior Madison Basinger (22-2, 1.28 ERA, 157 strikeouts), Magnolia senior Mallory Chapman (200 strikeouts and a 0.90 ERA in 140 innings pitched) and Moorefield senior Danica Rogers.
In all, 14 of the 18 players selected for the team were seniors, paving the way for a new host of stars to take center stage in 2015.
Moorefield and Wheeling Central each anded a player on the team along with their ace pitchers. Moorefield senior Beth Cook (.587, 7 HR, 23 RBI) and Maroon Knights junior Sydney Bennington (.520, 3 HR, 31 RBI) were named as infielders, and were joined at the position by Wahama senior Bailey Hicks (.552, 7 HR, 32 RBI), Sherman senior Baylee Harless (.356, 5 HR, nine doubles) and St. Marys senior Alyssa Fetty.
Moorefield and Wheeling Central joined Buffalo as the only teams with multiple selections to the first team. The Yellow Jackets finished as the Class A runner-up for the third year in a row and Central was ranked No. 1 from wire to wire in the regular season.
The team was finalized by the West Virginia Sports Writers Association on the night before the start of the state tournament.
Joining Higginbotham in the outfield were Madonna senior Amanda Paul (.361, 1 HR, 22 RBI) and South Harrison junior Hanna Burnside. Valley (Fayette) senior Kelsey Bird and Wirt County senior Shania Tanner (.447, 1 HR, 21 RBI) were named as catchers.
Three utility players were chosen, including Gilmer County senior Julie Bishop (.442, 10 doubles, 15 RBI), Doddridge County senior Lacy Perkins (.518 with a 1.79 ERA as a pitcher) and Fayetteville junior Kaitlin Sisler (.490).
Sherman junior pitcher Kylie Wells was chosen as captain of the Second Team after pitching the Tide to their first state tournament appearance and winning 12 of the team's games while hitting .306.
East Hardy catcher Marilyn Cassell also was chosen as a second-team pick.