Prep softball: Bases-loaded walk helps Buffalo defeat Moorefield
VIENNA, W.Va. -- By beating Moorefield in its second 1-0 win in as many games at the Class A State Tournament, Buffalo earned its chance at a third consecutive softball state championship.
In doing so, the Bison continued to have an upper hand against the Yellow Jackets.
The same lineup in Moorefield's gold-and-blue was in the lineup a year ago when Buffalo beat the Yellow Jackets for the 2012 state title.
"They lost no players from last year's tournament, and we lost four seniors," Buffalo Coach Darrell Moore said.
"We know they are racked with talent, but it's hard to improve. We are hitting the ball, but directly to their veteran defense."
Buffalo's Chase Christy led off a two-out rally in the fourth inning with a walk from Moorefield pitcher Sarah Better. Better then walked Katie Reynolds and Olivia Dunn loaded the bases with a single.
Junior third baseman Katie Allen worked her count to 3-2 and then provided the game's only run by drawing a walk from Better.
Christy was 2-for-2, but her biggest plate appearance ended without an official at-bat.
"When I follow big hitters like Ali Burdette and Chelsey Parkins, it makes it easy to block out the nerves," said the freshman, who was selected as the catcher for the Kanawha Valley All-Rookie team earlier this week.
"Either I follow the pace they have, or I get more excited to do what coach expects of me," Christy said.
Taylor Briscoe and Katie Higginbotham singled in the win, and Dunn reached base each time she came to the plate. Moorefield had just two hits of winning pitcher Parkins. Center fielder Jayme Fraley answered Buffalo's run with a single in the fourth but was left on base.
In the bottom of the sixth, shortstop Beth Cook singled and reached second, but also was stranded.
"All we have to do is hit the ball," Moorefield Coach Tammie Ayers said. "We've seen these pitchers, but I think nerves are getting to the girls."
The Bison face the winner of the loser's bracket championship game between Moorefield and Wheeling Central at 2:15 p.m. today. The Moorefield-Central game begins at 9:45 a.m.
"These girls are cool as cucumbers," Moore said. "Look at Chase. A freshman stepping up when needed. She is the only stranger on the field to the State Tournament, and (she) blends right in with the juniors and sophomores. I might as well consider her a sophomore with her experience. They all learn from each other."