CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- South Charleston pitcher Alli Burdette had reason to be pleased at her passing a personal milestone Wednesday, but the senior's outlook after beating Ripley 3-1 in the Mountain State Athletic Conference third-place game was more focused on her team.
"It feels great. Last year was kind of a rough year, but this year we're doing a lot better," Burdette said after leading the Black Eagles to their 17th victory of the season against nine losses.
"I've got a good team behind me. We have a lot of underclassmen that have had a great year, too."
A prep player in any sport that is surrounded by positive history within her program is valuable to the player's development, Burdette said. The 2012 Kanawha Valley Player of the Year and All-State pitcher who has signed to play college softball at Division I Elon recorded her 1,000th career strikeout when she fanned Ripley's Miranda Murphy in the sixth inning at Hurricane High School.
Burdette has 1,002 strikeouts in her career.
"I think it's a good thing. They have someone to look up to but also something to strive for," she said. "Something like this makes them want to work harder."
Burdette is keenly aware of SC softball history as well. While she transferred to the school from Sissonville after her freshman year, she said that her goal for the remainder of 2013 is to get the Black Eagles program to a place it hasn't been in a while - the State Tournament.
When the State Tournament was mentioned Wednesday, Burdette said two words.
"Chelsea Cobb," she said, referring to the ace pitcher that led SC to the 2008 Class AAA title game before falling to Huntington.
With class realignment that took effect at the beginning of the school year came regional realignment. As a result of it, SC remained in Region 3 but the team that eliminated it from postseason play a year ago - Logan - moved to Region 4, and is now in the same section with St. Albans and Nitro.
South Charleston's biggest obstacles to a hoped-for trip to Vienna's Jackson Park are No. 8 Ripley (16-6) and No. 10 Shady Spring. The Tigers were 11-2 entering this week.
"Space is looking good. It would be great. I haven't been there in my career, and hopefully we get to go this year," she said.
Sectional tournament play begins next week. The Black Eagles are paired in Region 3, Section 3 with rival George Washington.