Vikings shut out Weir in Game 1

STRAIGHT ON — Weir High’s Taylor Webster sends a fly ball to the outfield against Petersburg’s Carly Cooper in a regional contest on Wednesday. (Photo by Joe Catullo)

WEIRTON — The Weir High girls softball team had trouble solving the pitching of Petersburg sophomore Carly Cooper, and her battery mate drilled two RBI singles as the Vikings took a 1-0 series lead in the best-of-three Class 2A Region 1 championship Wednesday evening with a 2-0 victory.

The Red Riders, who were hot at the plate during the Section 1 tournament, found hits hard to come by as the regional finally got started after two rainouts. Cooper held them to two hits — one of them a bunt single — in recording the shutout.

“It came down to Carly Cooper,” said Rider coach Frank Sisinni, whose club was losing its seventh game in 27 starts. “She really kept us in check. We didn’t get any production out of the top of our lineup where we do a lot of our work. She did a good job of getting us to hit the ball on the ground.”

While Weir High had only the two base runners, the Vikings (24-3) had girls on base in all but two of the seven innings. The Vikings put the ball in play often and finished with eight hits off of Alivia Rosnick, but the junior was able to work herself out of trouble in the fourth and sixth innings. Those were the innings that Petersburg scored their two runs.

“Their catcher drove in both runs, but Liv did a great job in the circle today,” said Sisinni, whose club will travel to Petersburg today for a return match with the Vikings. “She threw over 100 pitchers, and she did well. We’re happy with her performance.”

It was sophomore catcher Bryanna Moreland who was the thorn in the side of Rosnick. She drove in both runs with sharp singles to center field.

“We’re hungry to get back to the state tournament,” veteran Petersburg coach Dwayne Hedrick said. “We haven’t played a lot of games here lately. We got a game in last week, but when you’re not playing every day or two, sometimes you don’t know whether the rust is going to be there.

“I was proud of them, though. They were eager, and they went out and made plays. Carly Cooper is the rusty part of it. She hadn’t pitched in at least 10 days or longer. She would have pitched in that game last week, but she had a back issue, so we held her out. Actually, I thought she was a little rusty. Some of her pitches were not as sharp as they can be.”

Hedrick added that he was glad to have Moreland in the lineup. She has been plagued all season with a knee problem that will have to be surgically repaired. She got the two RBIs and threw out a Weir High runner attempting to steal second base.

“Moreland was playing in only her third game back after injuring her knee in practice several weeks ago,” said Hedrick, who is in his 14th year as Petersburg head coach. “She rehabbed the knee and wears a brace, but she toughed it out. Catchers are tough and when you want to play bad enough, you’ll suck it up.”

The fast-moving game was played well by both teams, and coach Hedrick, whose club has been to the state tournament three of the last five years but never has taken home the trophy, said he told his team in their post-game meeting that the games get a whole lot closer and the competition is better when you get to the regional level.

Weir High sophomore catcher Sophia Mikula got the first Red Rider hit off of Cooper in the bottom of the third inning but was left stranded at first base. Abrianna Fuscardo led off the home half of the sixth inning with a bunt single up the third base line. She was erased trying to steal second.

“For us, we were stale at the plate and, at this point in the season, you can’t do that but that’s a credit to the pitching of Cooper,” Sisinni said. “We were a little flat today. Petersburg came out and put the ball in play. That’s the nature of the game; putting the ball in play, put some pressure on the defense and see what happens.

“I told the girls after the game we need to adjust quick and learn from this. It becomes one pitch at a time and one game at a time. You know, it’s a series. We’re not dead. We have an opportunity to go to Petersburg and win a game so we can come back here to play the third game.”

Weather permitting, the second game will be at 5 p.m. in Petersburg today. A Weir High win will mean a championship game in Weirton at 5 p.m. Friday.

Petersburg 2, Weir High 0

Petersburg 0-0-0 1-0-1 0 — 2 8 0

Weir High 0-0-0 0-0-0 0 — 0 2 0

PETERSBURG (24-3): Cooper (WP, 8K, 0BB) and Moreland.

WEIR HIGH (20-7): Rosnick (LP, 3K, 0BB) and Mikula.

TWO OR MORE HITS: Petersburg: Moreland 2, Ours 2; Weir High: none. DOUBLES: Petersburg VanMeter, Burgess; Weir High: none. TRIPLES: None. HOME RUNS: None. RBIs: Petersburg: Moreland 2; Weir High: none.