CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Courtney Rogers did not wish to be interviewed after Hurricane's 6-3 win over Cabell Midland on April 25, 2012 in Ona.
Then a freshman, Rogers had homered in the Redskins' win in the Mountain State Athletic Conference semifinals, a game that put them in position to claim their first conference title, which they did three days later by beating St. Albans.
In the 13 months that has since passed, Rogers has not only warmed to the idea of reading her words in print she's also matured into the leader of a bona-fide state champion contender.
Rogers has a .500 batting average, a Kanawha Valley-leading 11 home runs and an area-best 57 RBI. She leads the Redskins into the Class AAA State Tournament today in Vienna, where they face Wheeling Park at 9:30 a.m.
When Rogers does, she'll do so as the Kanawha Valley Player of the Year.
"It's been crazy, because we've always had losing seasons until last year," she said of the team's journey from also-ran to tournament favorite.
After finishing the regular season ranked third in the West Virginia Sports Writers Poll, Hurricane is the top-ranked team in a four-team Class AAA field that also includes No. 6 Wheeling Park, No. 10 Ripley and unranked Jefferson.
"Last year, we came out and won MSACs. This year we lost in the MSACs but still knew that we could make it to states," Rogers said. "It didn't matter. We knew we had to keep going to get to where we want to go."
Rogers, who is listed as a utility player on the All-Kanawha Valley team announced today, is 19-3 with 90 strikeouts and a 2.37 ERA. She is one of four Hurricane players on the first team, along with senior catcher Linzie Reynolds, sophomore infielder Madison Casto and junior outfielder Addie Fullen.
The talent-rich Redskins placed four more players on the second team: freshman infielder Maddie Hebb, sophomore infielder Cassi Sargent, senior outfielder Nicole Pierson and sophomore pitcher Emily Davis.
Rogers said the team's youth has begun to mature, making its talent more dangerous to opponents.