Golden Bears drop tough 2-0 decision to Ritchie County

ELLENBORO, W.Va. – The Oak Glen softball team dropped a tough 2-0 decision to host Ritchie County Saturday in the West Virginia Class A, Region 1 semifinal.

The contest was continued from Friday. Ritchie County held a 1-0 lead after three innings when the rains came.

The Golden Bears finished their inaugural season under head coach Morgan Martin at 17-11.

“Coming in as the head coach, I didn’t know what to expect,” she said. “It was definitely challenging. There are things that go on as the head coach you don’t have anything to do with as an assistant coach or a JV coach.

“We have a great coaching staff and they have been wonderful. Anytime I forgot something, one of the coaches was there. We worked really hard together to keep the team on task and focused and that really made a difference.”

Oak Glen was 8-19 a year ago, but also won the sectional championship for the first time in years.

“That also made a difference coming into this year,” said Martin. “They had that taste of success and wanted more. The seniors were hungry to get back to Ritchie County and get into that game again. The girls were not able to get as far as they wanted to, but now there’s a hunger for what’s to come next year.

“They’ve already started to talk about conditioning. Any time you can get kids feeling like that is a success in its own right.

“I think it is good for us to have faced Ritchie again. They are a tough team. Our kids know what they were going to face and now have something else to work toward. Most of their team is young and most of our team is young.

“They are going to work hard to get better and that is motivational and an inspiration for us, knowing they will be down there working just as hard as we are.”

Mikayla Crane had the lone hit for the Golden Bears and Hannah Clunk took the hard-luck loss.

“Sometimes I feel like a broken record, but I know we will not give up and we will battle and go hard until the last out,” said Martin. “That is something that makes us a strong team, shows teamwork and resolve and the ability to persevere. We play a lot of good teams and that is only going to make us better.

“But, we’re also going to toughen up our schedule next year.

“We had a lot of great leadership from the seniors and the underclassmen and that makes us excited as anew coaching staff of what’s to come in the future.

“It’s really hard to lose our seniors – Ashley Pryor, Mykelti McGaffic and Emilee Phillips.

“We believe we will have a lot of depth next year. Our seniors were great leaders and made big plays and had big hits and scored big runs. We’re really excited for what we have in store. We have a nice group of eighth-graders coming in to give us more depth.

“That will give us the ability to move people around and try new things and that’s exciting.

“I’m very pleased with our season. The girls worked hard all year, starting with the conditioning. I saw improvement rhoughout the season. They never gave up and their heads were never down. They fought as hard as they could.

“We gave Ritchie County a run for their money. We just couldn’t push a run across.”