NEW MANCHESTER - The Oak Glen softball team is four outs from winning the West Virginia Class AA Region 1, Section 1 tournament.
Golden Bears coach Michelle McHaffie saw her squad go out and came from behind in both games of a doubleheader and all but won the annual matchup with Weir High.
The only thing that stopped them from doing so was darkness. The teams are to return today at 4 p.m. to finish the seventh inning of the second game with Oak Glen ahead 19-7.
The Red Riders jumped out to a 7-4 lead in the first game largely on the hot bat of junior Ashlynn Drizake, who blasted home runs over the left field fence on two consecutive at-bats in the first and second innings. Her second dinger was a grand slam.
However, the Golden Bears kept chipping away at the lead and scored four runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to walk off with a 10-9 victory.
"My team has been fighters the whole season," said McHaffie. "I just kept telling them to keep their heads up and keep rolling with the punches. That's what they did tonight. They came to play tonight. Even when they got down, they kept fighting back."
For the Weir High girls, it wasn't a good day defensively or in the pitching department. The Red Riders committed a total of seven errors in both games and the pitchers yielded a total of 29 runs with a couple of them coming from wild pitches.
"We didn't make the plays," said Red Rider coach Dave Hinerman. "If you don't make the plays, you don't win. I feel bad for the kids. We scored a lot of runs in the first couple of innings, but left a lot of base runners on.
"Oak Glen made the plays when they needed to and we didn't. I don't want to take anything away from them."
In the first game, Drizake blasted her first home run with Haylee McLaughlin on board with a hit in the top of the first inning.
Weir High had already scored a run in the top of the second when Drizake drilled her grand slam. Meikka Buffo rifled an RBI single to drive in Morgan Rice, who had doubled. Allison Fuccy was on board with a single and McLaughlin followed Buffo's hit with a single of her own to load the bases for Drizake's second at-bat. She delivered going yard again over the left field fence.
Drizake also had an RBI double in the fourth inning driving home Buffo, who had walked. Oak Glen never got Drizake out in the first game as she walked her final time up.
She was three for three in the game with seven RBIs and scored two runs.
"She has been hitting the ball of late," Hinerman said of his junior shortstop. "She has five home runs in the last three games. She'll be back next year, but I just feel bad for my seniors to have this tough loss. They have worked their tails off just to get to .500 for the season."
Oak Glen kept the Red Riders within distance in the first game, scoring four first-inning runs to take the early lead. Marissa Young started the bottom of the first inning by reaching on a Weir High fielding error. Logan Andrews singled her to second and Ashly Pryor's sacrifice bunt moved them to third and second respectively.
Young scored on a wild pitch and Andrews touched home on a passed ball.
The rally continued when Mikayla Crane walked and Jordan Cunningham followed with a single. Mykelti McGaffic's single brought both of them home.
The Golden Bears scored single runs in the third and sixth innings while the Red Riders scored single runs in the fourth and sixth innings. That made the score 9-6 in Weir High's favor going into the bottom of the seventh.
Cunningham started the rally when her fly ball to center field was misplayed. Marissa Murray followed with a walk With the bases loaded, Shayni Vega drove Cunningham home with a single and Murray scored from third base on a wild pitch.
McGaffic raced home from third to knot the score at 9-9 on a wild pitch. Then Vega came home with the winning run when Crane drew a walk with the bases loaded.
After Oak Glen scored a run in the top of the first inning of the second game, the Red Riders sent 10 batters to the plate and scored five runs.
However, the Red Riders couldn't get hits when they needed them the rest of the game, scoring just two runs.
Meanwhile, the Bears jumped on starting Weir High pitcher, Abbey Pratt, scoring four runs in the third, one in the fourth, two in the fifth, three in the sixth and seven in the seventh.
Andrews was the hitting star for the Golden Bears in the second game getting five hits in six at-bats and driving in three runs while scoring three. Cunningham had two doubles and a single and drove home four runs. Crane also had three hits and a couple of RBIs.
Oak Glen 10, Weir High 9
Weir High 250 101 0 - 9 12 2
Oak Glen 401 001 4 - 10 10 0
WEIR: DiBacco (LP, 5BB, 1K), Pratt (2BB) and Buffo. Drizake 2HR, 2B, 7RBI, 2R; Buffo 2S, 3R, RBI, McLaughlin 2S, 2R; Zatezalo 2S, 2RBI; Rosnick, 2B; Rice 2B, R; Fuccy S, R.
OAK GLEN: Durante (4BB, 2K) and Crane. Cunningham 2S, 3R; Andrews 2S, 2R; McGaffic 2S, R, 3RBI; Vega 2S, R, RBI.