CRAWLEY — A year ago following the Class A Region 3 championship, Greenbrier West head softball coach Brooke Crane had tears in her eyes. With West up 10-2, and one strike away from the state tournament, Fayetteville rallied for an extra inning win, crushing Crane and the rest of the Lady Cavaliers.
Fast forward a year to Wednesday, Crane again had tears in her eyes, but for a different reason.
Her team accomplished what they couldn’t a year ago, defeating Valley 5-0 in Crawley, winning the Region 3 championship and with it securing the program’s first trip to the state tournament.
“It was a tough game and Valley’s a good team, but I wouldn’t trade my girls for nothing,” Crane said. “We learned so much from that loss last year and it made us better coming into this year. Our girls work hard and we stick together everyday. We tell them all the time we’re going to play our game and not worry about who we’re playing, and they did that.”
While Greenbrier West had been accustomed to slugfests in past region championships, the trends of this series were good pitching and timely hitting, both of which favored West.
After a late inning three-run home run gave West a 4-2 win in Game 1 on Tuesday, the blueprint was laid for the Cavs, and they followed it.
Taking the circle for West in the closeout game was junior Camryn Dorsey, and she didn’t disappoint. The junior right-hander pitched the complete game shutout in what was a pitchers duel for a majority of the evening.
“We wanted to go further than last year,” Dorsey said. “When you’re pitching and you have all your pitches working, you can get them off balance and that’s what I was able to do. Behind me I had a great defense that helped me a lot and the offense we have is amazing. They just come up big when we need it.”
While Dorsey’s performance stifled the Greyhounds, the defense she mentioned pulled its weight when runs were scarce.
After both teams moved through the first four innings with Dorsey and Valley pitcher Emmie Lopetrone locking down the offenses, the fifth pushed West.
A leadoff double from Valley’s Kaylee Ryan put the ‘Hounds in business early, but a popout and groundout lessened the scoring threat. With two outs, Brittany Bennett hit a ground ball up the middle, but an athletic, ranging play from shortstop Kenley Posten allowed her to scoop the ball and fire to first baseman Amanda Church who dug the ball out at the last second to prevent the infield single and end the inning before the run could score.
“That was clutch,” Crane said. “It was an awesome play and it’s what we needed to have there. We get plays when we need them and that’s what we do.”
Valley threatened again with two outs in the sixth when a runner reached base on an error, eventually allowing two runners to advance to scoring position. Dorsey again wiggled out of the jam to preserve the scoreless tie, but in the bottom of the frame her counterpart was unable to do the same.
Singles from Posten and Caley Chrisman set the table for first-team all-state junior Reegan Lively, who lined a single into the right field gap, scoring both runners. From there the Cavaliers kept finding the gaps and taking advantage of fielding miscues, finishing the inning with a 5-0 lead.
“It was a great game,” Valley head coach Marty Carver said. “When you get two hits, back-to-back and get runners on, things happen. We struggled to get those consecutive hits. This was a good team we played. Both teams pitched well, played good defense and that carried into the sixth inning. You couldn’t ask for a better game, we just happened to be on the losing end of it.”
Dorsey proceeded to match the offense’s effort, retiring Valley in order in the seventh, securing the win and sending Greenbrier West to the state tournament.
“No matter what the situation, we just play our game,” Crane said. “We take it one pitch at a time, one inning at a time and that’s what we do, we keep our heads. Right now there’s a lot of excitement about us making it to the state tournament, but we know it doesn’t end here and there’s still more work to do.”
Greenbrier West will open the state tournament Wednesday in Vienna where it will play the Region 1 winner, either Moorefield or Clay-Battelle.
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V: 000 000 0 — 0 4 2
GW: 000 005 x — 5 10 1
Pitching — V: Emmie Lopetrone and Jayden Chapman; GW: Camryn Dorsey and Katy Gray. WP: Dorsey, LP: Lopetrone. Hitting — V: Katie Huddleston 1-3, Haley Myers 2-3, Kaylee Ryan 1-3 (2B). GW: Amanda Church 2-4, Camryn Dorsey 2-4 (2B), Kenley Posten 1-3, Caley Chrisman 1-3, Reegan Lively 1-3 (2 RBI), Dena McMillion 1-3, Lilly Bennett 2-3 (RBI).
In an earlier game:
Greenbrier West 4
Down to her last strike in the top of the seventh inning, Caley Chrisman blasted a three-run homer to lift Greenbrier West past Valley, 4-2, in game one of the Class A, Region 3 tournament Tuesday.
Camryn Dorsey led off the seventh with a triple and Kenley Posten was intentionally walked before Chrisman provided her big blast.
Valley did not go down without a fight, placing runners at first and second with one out on the bottom of the seventh. Lilly Bennett made the defensive play of the game with a diving catch and throw to double off the runner at second base to seal the win.
Chrisman and Reegan Lively each had three hits on the day for the Cavaliers.
GW: 000 100 3 — 4 10 0
V: 000 002 0 — 2 3 1
GW: Kenley Posten and Katlyn Gray; V: Emmie Lopetrone and Jayden Chapman. WP: Posten, LP: Lopetrone. Hitting: GW: Camryn Dorsey 2-4 (3b), Kenley Posten 1-3, Caley Chrisman 3-4 (3 rbi, HR), Reegan Lively 3-4, Dena McMillion 1-4, Katlyn Gray (rbi); V: Haley Myers 1-3 (2b), Kaylee Ryan 1-3, Brittany Bennett 1-2.