SHENANDOAH JUNCTION — For three innings, neither Jefferson nor Musselman could score. The only threat to the co-shutouts being thrown by the Lady Cougars’ Alexandra Witt and Musselman’s Taylor Stocks was the storm clouds that surrounded the field but only sent down a a few scattered drops of rain.
[cleeng_content id="290867732" description="Read it now!" price="0.15" t="article"]But after Witt blanked Musselman in the fourth, the Lady Cougars wove together hits from Lauren Lewis, Jenna Witt and Chelsea Shepherd along with two Lady Appleman errors to break through with three runs.
Alexandra Witt continued her mastery of the Musselman offense. And the two additional runs Jefferson collected in the late innings made the final score read, 5-0.
Jefferson had shoved Musselman out of the postseason and had given itself a berth in the Class AAA, Region II finals this Thursday in Buckhannon against the Lady Buccaneers. The winner of that game secures a place in the four-team state tournament.
The Lady Cougars had lost two times to Musselman during the regular season. The Lady Applemen had scored a combined 19 runs in the two wins.
But against Witt in the Regional semifinals, the Lady Applemen did very little to excite their cow bell-ringing gallery of supporters.
Witt limited Musselman to just three hits. She allowed only three baserunners because she didn’t walk anybody and her defense did not commit any errors.
The right-hander handled four grounders herself and Musselman had eight pop flies or 150-foot fly outs. Witt fanned only one, but only five balls were hit hard off her reliable fastball.
Stocks was an imposing force herself. She had seven strikeouts through three scoreless innings.
In the Jefferson fourth, Lauren Lewis’ second single began what would mature into a three-run inning. With one out, Jenna Witt blooped a single into shallow right. Alexandra Witt was safe when her sharply hit grounder was misplayed at shortstop. The bases were loaded.
Musselman catcher Nikki Dusing made a throw toward third, trying to pickoff Lewis. The throw sailed high and into left field. Both Lewis and Jenna Witt scored on the error. And in an instant, the scoreless tie was no more and Jefferson had a 2-0 lead.
With Alexandra Witt still on base, Chelsea Shepherd got her second of three hits, the Lady Cougars led, 3-0.
Lewis drilled a solo homer in the fifth. It was her third hit off Stocks. Shepherd’s sixth-inning single was followed by the only walk Stocks issued and Mallory Jackson’s RBI single, and Jefferson led, 5-0.
In the seventh, Dusing, who had two of Musselman’s three hits, lined out to Lewis at shortstop to end it.
Stocks had fanned 13 in her six innings. But she yielded eight hits and Musselman’s two errors came in Jefferson’s three-run inning.
The Lady Cougars take a 19-8 overall record to face Buckhannon, a team they split games with during the regular season.
Alexandra Witt has now allowed only a combined two runs in posting a 3-0 record in three tournament games. She has been much more reliable than the weather in the last 10 days.[/cleeng_content]