Ohio Edges West Virginia in OVAC All-Star Game

WHEELING — Right before it came to bat in the sixth inning, Edison and Ohio assistant coach Spencer Bendle told St. Clairsville’s Amaya Smith and Maddy Vickers they were going to be the first two players to score for their team. Sure enough, that’s exactly what happened.

Ohio rallied from a two-run deficit, scored three runs in the sixth and defeated West Virginia, 3-2 in the OVAC Tom Bechtel All-Star Softball Game at Ben’s Field at the J.B. Chambers Complex Thursday night.

“We were talking about it for a few innings that we got to get the goose egg of there,” Bendle said. “We kept going and going and goose egg, goose egg and goose egg. And we finally told those girls, ‘You’re the first run we’re going to score and you’re the second one.’ The girls came through, stepped up and made some nice plays for us.”

The Ohio All-Stars, who were held hitless until Edison’s Sami Springer’s single in the third, took advantage of two missteps by the West Virginia All-Stars. Smith struck out, but the pitch got behind the catcher and she reached base safely. Vickers grounded to second base, but the fielder lost control of the ball on a throw to second as both runners were reached safely.

Barnesville’s Sarah Powell stepped to the plate and made the Mountain State pay. With one swing, the score was tied as Powell tallied a two-run double.

Powell then put the Buckeye State ahead to stay as she scored the go-ahead run on a wild pitch to put the score at 3-2.

With two outs, Frontier’s Kylie Daugherty belted a single followed by a Kamden Dulesky (Bridgeport) walk. However, West Virginia settled in and got the final out with a strikeout.

“I feel bad for our pitcher that one inning. They scored a couple of runs on us that should have been that should have been a couple easy, routine plays,” John Marshall and West Virginia coach Ed West said. “But that’s the nature of the game. If you walk them or make errors, it usually will come back and haunt you and that’s what happened (Thursday).”

The West Virginia All-Stars couldn’t have asked for a better start as they led off with four straight hits that resulted in their two runs.

Ateria Walker of Wheeling Park led the game off with a single. Wheeling Central’s Riley Bennington brought her home with a RBI double. John Marshall’s Carli Lightner then made the score 2-0 on a single. Lauren Garcia of John Marshall rounded out the hitting streak with a single of her own.

She was then called out after being told she left the base early on a steal attempt. The Ohio All-Stars retired the next two batters to end the inning.

“The way the game started, I thought we were going to hit the ball really well and we did for one inning. Then it kind of fizzled out,” West said.

After the first inning, West Virginia amounted four hits. Wheeling Central’s Olivia Carpenter, Clay Battelle’s Abbey Ammons, Weir’s Allison and Brooke’s Noelle Lamantia all supplied singles.

The pitching was superb for the Mountain State. Bennington and Lightner both fired four strikeouts while John Marshall’s Lauren Garcia had three and Madonna’s Katie Gasvoda had two. Each had two innings of work.

For Ohio, Toronto’s Gina Fogle and Warren’s Sarah Greenlee both supplied doubles while Buckeye Local’s Tori Luyster contributed with a single.

Greenlee and Smith were also stellar in the circle with three strikeouts each.

Edison’s Tommi McConnell settled down after the hot start by West Virginia and allowed two hits in the second and third inning. She retired her final batter she faced with a strikeout. All Ohio pitchers pitched three innings.

“It’s fun and it’s enjoyable for the kids,” Bendle said. “These kids compete against each other all year long and everything. They get to come together as unit for one day, get to know each other for a little bit and probably see each other in a different light than they do when they compete against each other. It makes it fun for the kids and you get to see a lot of good softball at the same time.”