Weir High softball survives bizarre day
WEIRTON — It was the game that didn’t want to end.
With a spot in the sectional final on the line, the No. 2 seed Weir and third-seeded East Fairmont softball teams faced off in a Class AA Region 1 Section 1 elimination game. Weir fell behind early, but the Red Riders responded and rallied for a 10-2 win in six innings Monday night at Kings Creek.
The game originally was scheduled to be played Monday at Weir’s usual home near the school. However, Mother Nature had a different idea.
The game made it through one-and-a-half innings before it was delayed by lightning in the bottom of the second inning at 5:18 p.m. More lightning and rain followed, resulting in more delays. An attempt was made to get the field ready for play during the break, but after meeting with the coaches and Weir Athletic Director Donna Ferguson, the umpires decided to suspend the game at 6:40 p.m. After a protest, the umpires agreed to move the game and continue it at Kings Creek.
The two teams had to wait for the youth game on the field to finish before they could warm up and restart the game. First pitch of the restart was tentatively scheduled for 8 p.m.
“It was a wild and crazy day,” Weir (22-8) head coach John Leary said. “I have to give a lot of credit to my kids. They were able to bounce back after a tough loss Saturday. They had to deal with the delay and the change of venue. Fortunately for us, the field we moved to is one they grew up playing on, so they were all comfortable playing there.
“I told them after the game that this has been a crazy season. We had to deal with COVID. We had to make adjustments. We had a lot to deal with, and they dealt well with the situation.”
With the win, Weir will play No. 1 seed Oak Glen (25-0) at 4:30 p.m. today in the sectional final in New Manchester. The Red Riders need to beat the Golden Bears twice to advance to the regional tournament. If Weir wins the first game, the two teams will play a second game shortly after.
Madison Angus picked up the win for the Red Riders. She allowed two runs on four hits, while striking out nine and walking three. Two of the three walks came in one inning.
“She got through that sixth inning,” Leary said.
“It was a tough sixth inning. I think she got a little tired, but she was able to get through it. She walked a couple of people, and she gave up that triple. She battled. She was able to bear down and get those last two outs in the inning.”
Blair Nuzum took the loss for the Bees (10-19). She allowed 10 runs on 18 hits, while striking out one and walking five. She also hit one batter.
“We played with Mallory Rosnick, and for us to score 10 runs and win the game, my hat’s off to our girls,” Leary said.
The Bees struck first with a run in the first. Catcher Carly Ledsome doubled to right start the game, advanced to third on a groundout and scored on a sacrifice fly to center.
The Red Riders got two runners on base in the bottom half of the inning thanks to singles by Alexis Adams and Sophia Aperfine. However, the pair were stranded.
Angus struck out all three East Fairmont batters she faced in the second. The game was delayed with Red Riders’ shortstop Olivia Baker — the team’s No. 6 batter — at the plate. The count was 1 and 1.
When the game was restarted, Baker got things rolling with a solo home run to tie the score at 1. The freshman added a single later in the game.
“That sparked us. We drew even, and that made it a brand new game,” Leary said. “We have talked all year about hitting being contagious, and once we started hitting, everybody hit.”
The Red Riders recorded a pair of runs in the third to take a 3-1 lead.
Weir extended its advantage to 7-1 thanks to a four-run fourth inning. The inning was highlighted by Sophia Aperfine’s three-run home run.
With the score 8-2 in the sixth, Rylee Donaldson delivered the game-ending two-run single to bring the long day and game to an end.
Adams delivered three singles for Weir. Reagan Hoover recorded two and an RBI. Chesney Tice, Mea Kaufman and Angus all singled twice. Breonna Parsons also produced a single for the Red Riders.
Nuzum tallied an RBI triple for the Bees, while Cassady Music and Marisa Delbrook each collected a base hit.
Weir will now try to keep its season alive by beating the undefeated Golden Bears twice in one day. Oak Glen has rallied to defeat Weir twice so far this season with the Golden Bears winning both games in their last at-bat. Weir had the chance to knock Oak Glen from the ranks of the unbeaten, but the Red Riders were unable to do so.
Winning a sectional title would be extra special for the Red Riders this season.
“We let two games against Oak Glen slip away,” Leary said. “We do not fear them. We have lost two tough games against them. The first time we faced Maddie McKay when she was a freshman, she threw a no-hitter. Then in the second game, we scored 10 on her. It was the complete opposite.
“Hopefully, we will be able to string some hits together, and we will be able to score some runs. I told our girls not to look ahead. We are going to take everything one pitch, one hitter, one inning at a time.”
Weir 10, East Fairmont 2
Fairmont 1-0-0 0-1-0 — 2 4 4
Weir High 0-1-2 4-1-2 — 10 18 0
EAST FAIRMONT (10-19): Nuzum (LP, CG, 10R, 18H, 1K, 5BB) and Ledsome. Ledsome D; Cowger RBI; Nuzum T, RBI; Music S; Delbrook S
WEIR (22-8): Angus (WP, CG, 2R, 2H, 9K, 3BB) and S. Aperfine. Adams 3S; Hoover 2S, RBI; S. Aperfine S, HR, 3RBIs; Angus 2S; Tice 2S; Baker S, HR, RBI; Donaldson S, 2RBIs; Parsons S; Kaufman 2S