Herbert Hoover ends Bluefield softball's state championship bid

May 24—south charleston — A long, hot day melted into frustrating disappointment for a weary band of Beavers Wednesday.

For the second time in seven hours, Bluefield (17-7) fell behind, almost battled all the way back but came short in the West Virginia AA softball finals, losing 7-4 to Herbert Hoover (27-4) at the Little Creek Rock Field A. The loss dropped the Beavers out of the double-elimination event.

Seniors who paced the school to its best four-year run in BHS history included Tanaya Smith, Grace Richardson, Abby Richardson, Isabella Smith and Cara Brown.

Hannah Shamblin notched 3 hits for the Huskies and took a mid-game turn on the mound. Laila Varney had a solid turn pitching, starting and then coming back in to finish the game with seven strikeouts.

Hoover withstood a Beaver rally by first scoring twice in the fourth as Kennedy singled them home with the bases loaded and Smith was able to escape further damage.

For the Beavers, it was a valiant effort as pitcher Izzy Smith threw over 200 pitches in the morning game and returned to do her best in the nightcap. She pitched an 8-hitter.

Bluefield's highlight came in the fifth inning.

Abby Matthews singled and Abby Richardson followed with another base hit. Taylor Mabry lifted a single down the right field line. Richardson was out on a force play, bringing up team RBI leader Maddie Lawson.

She did not disappoint, blasting a ringing double all the way to the right center all and scoring three runners. Matthews, Mabry and Grace Richardson all scored. That cut the deficit to 6-4. It was as close as the Beavers could get.

Bluefield, down 4-0 in the fourth frame, scored first on Cara Brown's bases-loaded grounder that brought in Grace Richardson. She had walked to start the inning.

Herbert Hoover bolted ahead with three in the first with the big bop a two-run double by Lexi Kennedy. Addy Chapman added an RBI single as Varney plated a run with another two-bagger that scored Worley.

Still, Bluefield had a splendid season, as Coach Justin Hall observed, making the state playoffs for the first time in school history and battling through a weather-plagued campaign that forced cancellation of 8 games during the regular season.

"There was some frustration (today)," he said "but you can't let your opinion of balls and strikes cloud performance. Overall, I am so proud of this great bunch of ladies. I love them all and congratulate them on making the state playoffs. That's a first, and now we have been through it. We will build on that for the future."

Of Lawson's big hit, Hall said, "Any time this season Maddie got a good pitch she was likely to laser-beam it and she did that again today. Big hit for us."

Smith scattered 10 hits and had 3 strikeouts. Bluefield had 5 hits including two by Lawson. The Beavers had an error and left four runners on. Herbert Hoover made no errors while stranding 11 baserunners.

At Little Creek Park

Bluefield.......0 0 0 1 3 0 0 — 4 5 1

Hoover.......3 1 0 2 0 1 x — 7 10 0

WP — Varney. LP — Smith. HR — none.

LOB — B, 4. HH, 11.