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Prep softball: Buffalo blanks Doddridge, heading back to States

By Kasey Hickman

BUFFALO, W.Va. - Getting on base was no issue for Buffalo on Friday, but ensuring runs in the Bison's Class A Region 4 softball title game was the challenge.

"Nerves were a big component to this game, but so was pitching. Never facing this team or pitcher made the girls anxious and they were getting ahead of themselves," Coach Darrell Moore said.

Center fielder Olivia Dunn took advantage of her opportunities. She found her way on base each time she came to the plate, scoring what proved to be the winning run in the fourth inning of a 2-0 Bison win.

The win sends Buffalo to the Class A State Tournament next week in Vienna. The Bison (31-4) will play Wheeling Central (21-8) in the first game of the tournament, at 9:45 a.m.

Dunn was 2-for-2 with a walk.

"When I'm due, I have to get on base no matter how I do it," she said

Advancing twice on passed balls, Dunn scored on a crucial sacrifice bunt by third baseman Katie Allen that broke a scoreless tie. Katie Higginbotham scored in the fifth on a Dunn single, cushioning Buffalo's lead late in the game.

"We were playing very well and the excitement makes us confident. I got on base, so I knew I was going to score because the team performs best when confident," Dunn said.

Pitcher Chelsey Parkins had a deep ball hit to center field making way for a stand-up double. Buffalo had 12 hits in the game, but made due with a few game-changers.

Parkins, meanwhile, shut down the Bulldogs from the circle. She allowed only four baserunners, with three walks and only one hit. Parkins closed out the game with three straight strikeouts with a  roaring crowd, and she heads into the State Tournament with confidence.

"I know getting the ball across the plate means the defense will take care of it without a doubt," Parkins said.

Moore said there's still elements of the team's game that need improved in the next week. The Bison have won the last two Class A state championships.

"Winning a third title means many things to us. It makes our program look very good, and can only leave more room for us to improve. Mistakes have to be minimalized in these scenarios," Moore said.

With Buffalo starting five sophomores and four juniors, Moore already is looking beyond a title. He wants the team and program at Buffalo to expand.

"We hope having these young girls in the tournament again means nothing more than improvement and reward. Next year we will have them back and winning a title could bring more girls to better our program."



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