GLEN DALE - Of all of John Marshall's victories this season, Monday's - the Monarchs' 29th straight - might be the sweetest.
Alexa Jones drove Morgan Watson home from third with one out in the bottom of the 12th to give John Marshall a thrilling 5-4 victory against Wheeling Park in Game 2 of the West Virginia Class AAA Region One, Section One Tournament at John Marshall High School.
The Monarchs will return to action Wednesday afternoon against the winner of today's elimination game between Park and Brooke. The Patriots edged the Bruins, 1-0, in Monday's first game.
Watson slides into home safely ahead of a tag by
Wheeling Park catcher Ashleigh Sidon for the winning run in the 12th inning
Monday in Glen Dale.
''I give Wheeling Park a lot of credit,'' John Marshall coach Ed West said. ''They played very well and made a couple of nice plays on us.
''They have nothing to be ashamed of, believe me. I'm just happy to get out of here with a win.''
Watson led off the final inning with a single. With that, JM turned its focus to getting her home.
''I told Hannah (Rogerson) she had to sacrifice to get Morgan to second,'' West said. ''She laid down a nice bunt and got her there.
''Then, Alexa did her job, put the ball in play and happened to get one through.
''Morgan has good speed. I thought if she had a good shot at scoring I was going to send her. I was happy she was able to get in there under the tag.
''I told the girls after almost every late inning we were this close to putting it away. We just couldn't get the key hit.''
JM laced one hit in innings seven though 10, but couldn't get the winner across. In fact, in the seventh and ninth, Sissy George got on base to start the frame.
Meanwhile, Monarchs ace Amy Rotriga was cruising. She was perfect through the final seven innings.
The last hit she allowed came in the fifth. That's the same frame in which Park tied the score at 4-4 on a mammoth two-run blast by Kayla Kimmins.
''I think I ticked her off,'' Park coach Dee Davis joked. ''I told her after that at-bat she was coming out of the game. Then she hit the home run and I told her she was staying in. That certainly got us back in it.''
The Patriots started strong, scoring two runs in the first. But John Marshall came back in the bottom of the inning with three runs to take the lead.
The Monarchs tacked on another run in the second on an RBI single by leadoff batter Kristin Lewicki. This came two spots after Jackie Gellner belted a one-out triple.
Lewicki finished with three singles, a double and an RBI.
Park had its chances to score early on, but left seven runners stranded in the first four innings, including the bases loaded in the third. That came back to haunt the Patriots later.
''When we get on base we have to take advantage of those opportunities to score,'' Davis said. ''That's all we have to do.''
And when it looked like Park would score, JM's defense came up big. Gellner threw out Skylar Carrington at home from her right field spot to end the fourth inning. In the 12th, Sissy George robbed Allie Dailer of possible extra bases with a diving grab in center field.
''I think our defense is second to none,'' West said. ''Our outfield can make plays and our infield is very good. I think Kylie (Howard) is possibly the best shortstop in the valley.''
Carrington went the distance in the circle, along with Rotriga.
''She said she felt good,'' said Davis, who asked her repeatedly late if she could keep going. ''She kept the ball in the field and kept getting ground balls. She did a super job.
''We played 19 innings and that's a lot. We hung tough. We fought the whole way and we didn't give up. Now, it's time to get back at it (today).''
Wheeling Park 1, Brooke 0
GLEN DALE - Carly Greer's sacrifice fly that scored Marissa Tucker in the fifth inning was all the offense Park needed to down Brooke.
Greer tossed a four-hitter, allowing four singles. She finished with two hits, along with teammates Dailer and Kristin Slater.
W.Va. Class A, Region One, Section Two
Paden City 11, Valley 1
CAMERON - Kelsey Loy struck out seven and Amber Neff singled twice and drove in two runs as Paden City beat Valley.
Loy, Tori Anderson, and Katie Shreves each added an RBI for the Wildcats (7-17).
Alyssa Sharpe singled and drove in the lone run for Valley.
Cameron 22, Valley 0
CAMERON - Cameron eliminated Valley as Tara Paczewski struck out seven and scattered two hits.
The Dragons (20-5) ripped three home runs, one each by Cassidi Richmond, Linda Hall and Lexi Benline. Richmond wound up with four hits and drove in four runs.
Paczewski and Kayla Fitzgerald each doubled twice and drove in three. Taylor Whipkey added a single, triple, and RBI.
Holly Schell and Brooke Staley each singled for Valley in its season finale.