It wasn’t just a big win when Wyoming East nipped Shady Spring, 2-1, to capture the AA Region 3 softball championship on Tuesday evening at Shady Spring.
It was history.
The Lady Warriors were playing in their seventh regional final. Now, at last, they are going to state.
East scored two runs in the fourth inning and survived a couple of late inning jams to punch its ticket to Vienna.
Robert “Doc” Warner, WEHS coach for 16 years, said the difference this time was the person in the circle—all-state pitcher Holly Brehm.
“When she got in trouble, she bared down and got us out of it,” Warner said.
The Tigers, shut out in an 8-0 loss on Monday, scored a run in the first and held a 1-0 lead until the fourth.
“We didn’t hit the ball,” Warner commented. “We weren’t patient except in the fourth inning, and that was when we scored.”
A Rivers Wade grounder drew an error, and she reached safely.
Kari Walker doubled deep to center to bring Wade in and tie the game at 1-1.
Autie Miller’s ground out moved Walker to third.
Walker came home on Kyndle Johnson’s ground ball.
No one scored again, but the Tigers (15-6) got close.
There were none on and one out in the Shady sixth when East errors put runners on the corners.
Brehm fanned the next two batters to end the inning.
Hannah Daniels walked with one out in the Tiger seventh.
Bradley Hayhurst singled.
Brehm fanned Emily Jones. Brooke Clark was walked to load the bases.
Clark had doubled in Shady’s only run of the day in the first inning.
“I wasn’t going to give her a chance to beat us,” Warner said, “when the next batter up had struck out against Holly six times.”
It wasn’t a strikeout this time. “It was a missile,” Warner oberved, “but it went right to (Walker).”
Maranda Allen pitched well for Shady in the loss.
East will face Region I champion Oak Glen in the opening game of the state tournament on May 24 at 9:30 a.m.
Chapmanville and Herbert Hoover will meet in the other AA first round game.
John Conley can be reached at 304-732-6060 or on Twitter @PIHnews.
Photo: Wyoming East players celebrate after winning the Region 3 softball championship.