Lady Devils fall to Wirt

ELIZABETH, W.Va. – Wirt County’s battery provided lots of spark Tuesday, with Jess Lockhart pitching a solid complete game while going 3 for 4 at the plate, and catcher Skylar Bogan hitting a three-run homer in the seventh to ice a 9-4 win for the Tigers over St. Marys.

Lockhart allowed only one earned run on seven hits, and Bogan went 3 for 4 with three runs and three runs batted in.

Tiger coach Aaron Hill praised his two star performers.

“Jess is a junior; she’s given us good innings in the past, and has put in a lot of work in the offseason.

“Bogan is a good player. She came in as a freshman and was captain of 2nd team all-state. She’s going to have a good year.”

Wirt County took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first. With one out, third baseman Mady Hardbarger single was followed immediately by a Bogan double to put runners on first and third.

St. Marys starter Mykaela Handschumacher then coaxed a swinging bunt from centerfielder Katie Tichnell, but her throw to first went awry, allowing Hardbarger to score. After a strikeout, Brey Gillenwater hit a two-out single to plate Bogan.

St. Marys tied the game in the top of the third. After falling behind 0-2, Devils’ centerfielder Addie Furr battled back to earn a leadoff walk. After Jordan Fox hit a high popout to second, Natalie Payton laid a sacrifice bunt to move Furr to second, and Handschumacher singled her home.

After a Rachel Payton single, Erica Payne hit a ball into the hole which Tiger second baseman Caitlin Cottrill knocked down well, but her hurried throw sailed wide of first, allowing Handschumacher to cross the plate.

Bogan led off the bottom of the third with a single, and Katie Tichnell reached when shortstop Jordan Fox couldn’t handle her hard-hit grounder.

Cottrill then attempted to bunt, but popped it up to catcher Rachel Payton, whose throw to second to attempt to double off Bogan went into centerfield. Bogan scored to retake the lead.

Fox then atoned for her earlier miscue by retiring Gillenwater on a hot-shot grounder, but Katie Frazier singled in Tichnell for a 4-2 advantage.

Good defense paid off for the Tigers in the fourth, as third sacker Hardbarger made a good play to her left to spear a hard grounder from Anna Runnion, and Lockhart reacted quickly to her right to snare a Furr comebacker.

After Wirt County extended the lead to 6-2 in the bottom of the fifth against Payne, on in relief, St. Marys rallied in the top of the sixth. Dixie Price reached second on an outfield error, and Sammi Clayton singled her in, taking second on the throw home. After Runnion walked, and a Furr popup in foul ground was caught nicely by Hardbarger, Fox slashed a double for her second extra-base hit to score Clayton and put the tying runs on second and third.

The Tigers solid defense paid off again, however, as shortstop Carrie Winnell made a nice play to retire Natalie Payton and end the inning. Lockhart and Hardbarger led off the bottom of the sixth with singles, bringing Bogan to the plate. On a 1-0 count, she smashed a line-drive homer over the fence in dead center to provide a margin of insurance. St. Marys got runners to second and third with two outs in the top of the seventh, but Lockhart retired Clayton on a comebacker to end the contest.

Hill summed up afterwards, “We knew it would be a good, competitive game. St. Marys is a solid team.

“We had multiple contributors; it was a good team win.”