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Oak Glen wants much more

he Oak Glen softball team celebrates winning the WVSSAC Region 1, Section 1 title over rival Weir High at home on Wednesday. The Golden Bears won 6-0 to advance to next week’s Region 1 tournament. (Photo by Andrew Grimm)

NEW MANCHESTER, W.Va. — While most of the attention has been focused on Oak Glen’s All-State Toledo commit Maddie McKay’s work in the circle, Lizzie Kell quietly put together a strong season in her own right.

Quietly until the tournament, that is.

Kell concluded a phenomenal Region 1, Section 1 tournament on Wednesday with a complete game no-hitter, striking out 10 batters and ending up a full-count walk in the sixth inning away from a perfect game to lead the Golden Bears to back-to-back sectional titles with a 6-0 victory over rival Weir High.

“She does what she’s supposed to do and she moves the ball well,” Oak Glen pitching coach Stephanie Fidak said. “I think when people see how little she is and they don’t see her name as much (as McKay’s) because she usually comes in at the end of the game, people underestimate her.

“She is our secret weapon and she is very effective. She pitched a phenomenal tournament.”

In the Golden Bears’ three tournament games thus far, Kell has earned two wins and a save, striking out 23 batters in 13 innings of work allowing just two walks and two hits without allowing a run and being a part of two no-hitters.

The left-hander fanned all six faced in the tournament opener against East Fairmont last week to complete a combined no-no with McKay and earn the save, got the win in Oak Glen’s first tournament meeting with the Red Riders Monday with four innings of relief work and then took center stage on Wednesday, getting the start and going all the way for her own no-hitter.

“Congrats to Oak Glen and congrats to Lizzie, she pitched a masterful game,” Weir High head coach John Leary said. “I know (Kell) and I know what a quality kid she is, I didn’t doubt her for one minute. And, when you give someone a challenge and they are an athlete, they answer the challenge. She shut us down.

“She pitched a no-hitter and a deciding sectional game. That is something she will remember forever.

“She had something to prove to us.”

She fanned more than half of the batters she faced (53.5 percent).

“Her coming in as a left-handed pitcher, too, is hard for a team to hit off of because they haven’t seen that as much,” Fidak said. “(Weir’s hitters) have grown up with Maddie, they’ve seen Maddie a lot, so it’s nice for us to have a whole different dynamic coming at batters.”

It took the Golden Bears exactly one at-bat to give Kell all the run support she needed as Sydney Brown blasted a leadoff homer.

McKay plated Kenna Calahan, who reached on an error, and a Liv Munoz sac fly plated Sarah Brown, who also reached on an error, to quickly make it a 3-0 Oak Glen (24-2) lead.

“That was our goal right off the bat,” Oak Glen assistant coach Sara Wright said. “We wanted to get the bats going early (after falling behind early on Monday and having to come back). If we get some runs early everyone settles in.

“The first hit being a home run really started us off. She hit a nice homer that got us going.”

Sydney Brown added a two-out single in the second and scored on Calahan’s two-out RBI single to make it 4-0.

After Weir senior ace Madison Angus bounced back and put the Bears down in order the next two innings, Sydney Brown led off the fifth by getting to second when a ball got away from the Riders’ infield, then scored on a Weir error on a Calahan grounder, Calahan coming around on a pitch that skipped away later in the inning to provide the final margin.

“These girls are a special group of young ladies,” Oak Glen head coach Sherrie Garner, who arrived in time to celebrate with her team after missing most of the game with a family commitment, said. “They have been playing together for a long time. This group this season has one mission and that is to get back to the state tournament and get one more win than we did last year.

“That mission started here in the sectionals with good competition against Weir. We’re always going to be up against good competition in the sectional because we have to get through Weir to get any further. It’s emotional because the kids have known each other forever and there are relationships between the coaches.

“We’re very proud of this group. Our girls came to play today with no reservations. They wanted to win (Wednesday) and get some rest.”

Angus went the distance for the Red Riders, and just three of the six runs she was charged with were earned and she did not issue a walk.

“You play a whole season and win 20-plus games and get down to the last game then don’t play anywhere near how you played the entire season, it’s tough,” Leary said. “I’m proud of my kids, I’m proud of Madison. She carried us all year on her back.

“That home run off the bat was tough but she kept battling and kept pitching. When she has matured so much and I am so proud of her.

“They beat us four times this year, so obviously the best team won.”

SENIOR FARWELL

The Red Riders successful season was led by a pair of seniors, Angus and Mallory Rosnick who will be tough to replace. However, there will be a lot coming back to follow in their footsteps.

“From the beginning of this year, to the end of this year, how they took their leadership role and really developed in that role is something to be proud of,” Leary said. “We talked to them about their legacy here. All three seasons we got to play they’ve been on a 20-win team and it’s the first time in a long time Weir High has done that. They got us in the OVAC playoffs. They leave a legacy at the school.

“I was talking to former Weir High pitcher Morgan Martin and she and I think Madison’s 18 wins have to be close to the school record. She pitched over 90 percent of our innigns, and there were times Mallory carried us, especially in the OVAC playoffs.

“I know our junior class coming up are going to be great leaders.”

UP NEXT

Weir High: Season concludes.

Oak Glen: Will host Section 2 Champion Keyser on Monday in Game 1 of the Region 1 Championship Series. The series is a best-of-three.

“We’ve got more business to take care of,” Garner said.

WVSSAC Region 1, Section 1 Championship

At Oak Glen High School

No. 1 Oak Glen 6, No. 2 Weir High 0

WH: 0-0-0-0-0-0-0 – 0-0-4

OG: 3-1-0-0-2-0-x – 6-7-0

WEIR HIGH (21-9): Angus (LP, 6IP, 6R, 3ER, 1K, 0BB) and Aperfine.

OAK GLEN (24-2): Kell (CG, WP, 0R, 0H, 10K, 1BB) and Sa. Brown.

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