Bears can’t dwell on first loss
KEYSER. W.Va. — For the first time in more than two years, the Oak Glen softball team suffered its first defeat to end its 26-game winning streak in dramatic fashion Monday.
Keyser’s Charity Wolfe, who pitched a complete game on the mound, led off the bottom of the eighth inning with a walk-off solo home run to left field to lift the Golden Tornado to a 3-2 victory in the West Virginia Class AA Region 1 tournament.
The Golden Bears (26-1) will host Keyser (28-3) at 4 p.m. today. If the Bears lose again, their season concludes and the Golden Tornado will head to states. If Oak Glen is successful, a do-or-die Game 3 will be held Wednesday at Keyser.
“We have to come back,” Oak Glen coach Sherrie Garner said. “I told them they have to take the chances of extending runners on base. We also have some things on defense to clean up. Some of the errors did not hurt us, but you can’t make them.
“It’s difficult right now, but I told them our dreams are not over. We have to keep playing. Ultimately, I thought we played a good game. We just came up a little short.”
The Bears grabbed the first lead of the game on Maddie McKay’s one-out solo homer in the top of the fourth.
Keyser answered back and took its first lead in the bottom of the fifth. Carlie DelSignore reached on a one-out two-base error (one of four overall for Oak Glen). Two batters later and with two away, Alexa Shoemaker hit her 16th home run of the season for a 2-1 advantage.
That score remained the same until the top of the sixth. Sydney Brown roped the first pitch she saw for a single, then Lizzie Kell walked. McKay struck out on a pitch in the dirt, allowing Brown and Kell to at least advance to second and third. Sarah Brown also drew a free pass to load the bases.
Looking to tie it up, Olivia Munoz produced her second RBI bunt of the postseason to do just that. She was thrown out at first when Sydney Brown crossed home before Makayla Zoellers flew out to right field.
The Golden Tornado began the bottom of the sixth with a walk and double to put runners on second and third. McKay worked out of the jam with three straight strikeouts.
Oak Glen went 1-2-3 in the seventh. In the bottom half, it intentionally walked Shoemaker with nobody on and two away. The next batter struck out.
When Shoemaker hit her homer in the fifth, there was a runner on third, meaning a base was open.
“There was a thought of (putting her on). If I could do it all over again, I would. It was the wrong call on my part,” Garner said.
Kell represented the go-ahead run in the top of the eighth following a one-out single. McKay then struck out looking, Kell stole second and Sarah Brown hit a loud flyout to left to end the threat.
McKay allowed one earned run allowed on five hits and two walks with 16 strikeouts (219 on the year). She allowed a total of two homers prior to Monday. Will she be back in the circle today?
“I have to sleep on that,” Garner said. “Lizzie brings a solid game, as well. We’ll need to talk about that (today). We all just have to sleep on it and wake up fresh.”
As for Keyser, Wolfe earned the victory by allowing two runs on five hits and two walks, while striking out 11. The bottom four hitters in Oak Glen’s lineup went 0-for-12 with six strikeouts.
“She had a fantastic curve that dropped, and we couldn’t lay off of those,” Garner said.
Sydney Brown led the game off with a double to finish with two hits. Kell and Sarah Brown each reached base two times with a base knock and free pass.
“(Keyser) is doing the same, but nobody else in the region is making a three-and-a-half-hour trip,” Garner said. “Our message (on the bus ride home) was, ‘Keep your heads up, let’s go back home and get a win.'”
OAK GLEN: 0-0-0-1-0-1-0-0–2-5-4
OAK GLEN (26-1): McKay (LP, CG, 3R (1ER), 5H, 2BB, 16K) and Sa. Brown. Sy. Brown S, D; Kell S; McKay HR, RBI; Sa. Brown S; Munoz RBI.
KEYSER (28-3): Wolfe (WP, CG, 2R, 5H, 2BB, 11K) and Massie. Smith S; Shoemaker HR, 2RBIs; Wolfe HR, RBI; Pratt S, D.