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Ritchie Too Tough for Magnolia

April 12, 2013
By TRACY WATSON , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

NEW MARTINSVILLE - Softball is a game in which it can take very little time for little things to turn into big things.

Leaving runners on base, not getting hits in key situations, errors, especially with two out, are just things that can add up and usually not doing them will quickly take a team out of a games.

That was no more evident than what happened to Magnolia on Friday afternoon against West Virginia Class AA power Ritchie County as a laundry list of no-no's doomed the Blue Eagles.

The Rebels scored eight unearned runs on the afternoon, taking advantage of six Magnolia errors, while the Eagles stranded 12 runners as Ritchie County posted a 10-0, five inning victory on the opening day of the Magnolia Tournament at Hydro Field.

All 10 of the visitor's run also came with two down.

"Ritchie is a quality team with a great coach and a team that usually plays for state championships, so they really don't need you to give them anything," Magnolia coach Mark Batton said. "You just can't do that against them, if you make an error you have to shake it off and go on."

Losing pitcher Mallory Chapman did a fine job getting the first two outs in innings, but the extra outs killed her and her teammates.

After recording two quick outs in the top of the first, a single and three-base error made it a 1-0 count. Abby Burgess reached on the second miscue of the frame just ahead of Micah Ray's two-run bomb to straight-away center that made it a 3-0 score.

Magnolia (5-10), which left at least two batters on in four of the five innings and twice left the bases loaded, had two in scoring position in the first that it couldn't get home. The hosts had three singles in the bottom of the first, but had one runner thrown out on the bases.

The Rebels' (14-1) big inning was the fifth when a leadoff walk was followed by a pair of strikeouts before three singles and four more errors led to five additional runs and an 8-0 advantage. Ritchie did add a pair of earned runs, also with two outs, in the fifth on a Becca Sullivan double, a Rachel Haddox run-scoring single and Michaela Smith double.

"We played hard and gave it everything we had," Batton added. "And I was very pleased with how Mallory (Chapman) pitched, it was a tremendous effort. But we have to find a way to generate runs and keep up with good teams.

"Hitting in key situations is something we have struggled with, it just hasn't been going our way. But we will continue working and we will get better."

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