Prep softball: Eight-run first inning lifts Cabell Midland
HURRICANE, W.Va. -- Kyla Shull's last trip to Hurricane resulted in a short appearance in the pitching circle and a no decision in what became a 15-13 Cabell Midland loss on April 10.
Shull didn't throw seven innings Wednesday night in the Mountain State Athletic Conference softball championship game between the rival teams, but she didn't need to, either. Midland scored eight runs in a two-out rally during the first inning, and Shull kept the ordinarily potent Redskins lineup at bay in a 12-2, five-inning win to give the Knights the league title.
"Greg's been working with me on my movement since then, and I guess that's helped a lot," Shull said, referring to Knights assistant coach Greg Lunsford. "I didn't let them get to me and I kept my head in the game. I just did that and played my own game."
Hurricane (24-5) entered the game as the defending MSAC champion and averaging 10.1 runs per game this season. The Redskins were held to four hits, including a two-run home run by sophomore Courtney Rogers that provided the hosts with their only runs.
A junior, Shull benefited from a big early lead that allowed her to begin the game with an added dose of confidence.
After retiring the first two batters of the game, Rogers watched as 10 consecutive Midland hitters got hits, something Midland (24-4) Coach Jeanne Lunsford said she had never seen from one of her teams.
"They had the best energy tonight that we've had all year," Lunsford said. "That energy before the game just flew over to them early on."
Jordan Colliflower started the rally by reaching on a bang-bang play at first that saw Hurricane Coach Josh Caldwell already out of the Redskins' dugout to greet his team after what would have been a quick inning.
It would be a while before Caldwell would actually be able to welcome his club off the field.
The half-inning lasted 18 minutes. Colliflower's infield single was followed by an RBI double by Morgan Kelley, a single by Jenny Brumfield, a two-run double by Savannah Eplin and four consecutive singles that brought Caldwell onto the field again.
At that point, he was replacing Rogers with reliever Emily Davis, who got out of the inning and from there, kept the Knights' bats comparatively silent until the fifth.
In that fateful frame, however, the typically solid Hurricane defense committed five errors, leading to four unearned runs on two hits.
Shull nailed down the title the next half-inning.
"You can't play bad and expect to beat a good team, a real good team and in my mind the best team in the state," Caldwell said. "We played terribly."
A total of six Midland players had two hits in the win, led by Kelley's 2-for-3 showing.
South Charleston 3, Ripley 1 - In the MSAC consolation game, Black Eagles senior Alli Burdette surpassed the 1,000-career strikeout mark as SC topped Ripley for the second time in two weeks.
The 2012 Kanawha Valley Player of the Year finished the game at 1,002 career strikeouts.
Contact Preps Editor Derek Taylor at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-348-5170. Follow him on Twitter @ItsreallyDT.