SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. — St. Marys junior Breanna Price is reaping the benefits of prior experience at the state level in both girls basketball and softball.
Friday morning in an elimination game at the Class A state softball tournament, Price ignited the Blue Devil offense with the team’s first hit and first run in a 6-0 win over a Petersburg outfit which defeated St. Marys twice during last year’s state tournament.
Price also started for the St. Marys girls basketball team making a repeat appearance at the state tournament before Petersburg as the sixth seed knocked out the Blue Devils in the opening round.
St. Marys (30-5) advanced to the championship stage scheduled for later in the afternoon needing to win twice against Wahama, which was 30-5 prior to the matchup.
“Beating Petersburg is something we are very proud of,” Price said. “We knew we had to come in and hit. We all were very pumped up and that helped us stay in the game. Awe put the bat on the ball and good things happened.”
Seven of St. Marys’ starting nine contributed at least one hit to the nine-hit attack, including two apiece from Price out of the No. 7 hole followed by Autumn Mossor in the eighth spot.
Mossor, the daughter of St. Marys coach Lacy Riggs, played her first game in the state tournament. Both Mossor and Price each drove in one run. Also in the lower half of the order, Baylee McGrady tripled home two runs in a four-run fifth inning which completed the scoring for the Blue Devils.
Price, who batted lead-off for a majority of the season, was bumped down the lineup as a means of kick-starting a St. Marys attack which went cold in the latter part of the season leading up to this week’s until the state tournament.
“Our bats, we have been pretty hot as long as we keep them rolling,” Riggs said. “We have made a couple of changes. Autumn didn’t have an at-bat this tournament. The kids are adjusting, doing what they are supposed to do and pulling through.
“With girls like Breanna, that gives us a versatile batter toward the bottom of the order. We are able to make better use of her talent down there.”
Price also was on the receiving end of a Petersburg baserunner caught stealing at second base.
“Myself, I’ve been going into the batter’s box thinking jump on the first pitch,” Price said. “Get a good hit on one you can handle and sent it.
“This year we haven’t had the nerves. Last year, we didn’t know what to expect.”
Cali Masters earned the win after throwing six innings of shutout ball with three hits allowed and 10 strikeouts. She struck out nine Vikings in the first four innings.
“Yes, we saved an inning and Ella came off the bench and was also stellar out there,” Riggs said. “That’s called teamwork.”
Coach Riggs saved an inning for Masters in case St. Marys forced a second game against Wahama. Fellow southpaw Ella Smith, the lone senior on the Blue Devil roster, needed just 12 pitches to strike out the side in order in the top of the seventh inning.
Taking the loss for Petersburg was junior Sammy Colaw, who walked two and struck out seven. The Vikings close out the season at 26-10 after playing through a non-stop schedule with only 10 players in uniform.
“Honestly, I am so thankful for an outstanding year,” Petersburg coach Bubba Hedrick said. “I feel blessed that we got here. We knew we were very short in numbers and very young. We really scraped to get 10 kids this year. It was just an odd year for us.
“We knew anything we got here was a cherry on top. We actually played a couple of games this year when we only had nine. We were nervous the entire year, but we got a lot of mileage. We played a lot of games.”
Petersburg, which was held shutout for the final 12 innings of the tournament, graduates one senior in catcher Braylee Corbin.
“We kind of rode Colaw and Corbin all year,” Hedrick said. “They carried us a lot.”
Contact Kerry Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org
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