CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Despite being unranked playing against the No. 2 team in Class AA, Sissonville was far from intimidated Thursday night.
The Indians had lost twice during the regular season to Region 4 semifinal host Herbert Hoover, but both were by one run. Sissonville blew a seventh-inning lead in one of the games and lost the other in the eighth inning.
When it counted the most, the Indians (16-12) showed no fear from the outset and cruised to a comfortable 7-3 victory over Hoover (23-4) at Michael D. Chandler Field on Thursday night.
"This win is huge," Sissonville assistant coach Andrea Lewis said. "They definitely earned this one. It was all of them. We had prepared so much and they came out here and dominated."
Lewis was coaching the Indians in place of Sissonville Coach Niki Gross serving a school-imposed one-game suspension. The Indians played a game against Ripley on Wednesday, which was against West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission policy with the Westest.
Lewis said the team was motivated by the previous close losses to Hoover earlier in the season.
"Hoover is a great team," Lewis said. "(We) needed to realize they could overcome something like getting beat twice by such close losses.
"We knew we needed to enter like we had won both games. If we showed any ounce of fear, they were going to eat it up. The girls whipped out the eye black, and it was a team attitude that there wasn't going to be anything to stop them."
Sissonville players bought what the de facto coach was selling.
"This is huge," Sissonville senior pitcher Bekah Baldwin said. "Everybody was doubting us but we didn't doubt ourselves. We came in and did what we knew we could do. We knew we could do it. Its great."
Sissonville jumped on Hoover from the start with Baldwin, a West Virginia State signee, blasting a two-out, two-run homer in the first inning to give the Indians a quick 2-0 lead.
"It was wonderful," Baldwin said. "It was a 2-2 and the pitch was right there, and I went with it. I had a feeling but I wasn't sure because the center fielder was backing up and looking. But then everybody started cheering."
The Indians were far from finished. Freshman Reagan Johnson hit her first career home run, a solo shot in the second inning to give the Indians a 3-0 lead.
"Before the game, she (Johnson) said she was feeling a home run," Baldwin said. "She was just kidding around but when she did, I told her 'you definitely felt it.'"
The home run came as a surprise to both Johnson and the Sissonville coaching staff.