PARKERSBURG-All season long defending state (Class AA) champion Ritchie County and Wayne appeared to be headed for a showdown at the Rosemar Softball Complex in the West Virginia State High School Softball Champions.
As expected that showdown occurred when the best four teams in the division reached the state tournament. But the Rebels and Pioneers did not clash once, but three times with Wayne coming out on top in the final two to take home the school's first ever title in the sport.
"We knew all season that it would come down between us and them," explained Ritchie County head coach Dave Mossor. "There wasn't a lot of difference between our teams. We didn't give it (the state title) to them. They had to beat us twice."
The rest of the state's coaches, as well as the W.Va. Sports Writers Association, agreed as both teams placed three of their standouts on the first team as the association announced its 2012 W.Va. State High School All-State Softball Team.
Representing the state champion Pioneers are pitcher Jessie Rowe and infielders Jessica Watts and Jacey Parsons. The Rebels' trio includes catcher Allison DeLancey, who was selected the team's captain for the second year in a row, pitcher Kelsey Waggoner and infielder Cassidy Ray.
"She (Rowe) is our workhorse on the field and has led this team to their first state championship," said Wayne head coach Tish Smith. "She seems to perform her best when the situation seems too much to handle for some."
Class AA All-State Softball
P Tori Tharp, Magnolia, Sr.
P Jessie Rowe, Wayne, So.
P Meghan Anderson, Keyser, Sr.
P Kelsey Waggoner, Ritchie County, Sr.
P Allison Rager, Herbert Hoover, Fr.
IF Jessica Watts, Wayne, Jr.
IF Cassidy Ray, Ritchie County, Sr.
IF Kelly Hall, Roane County, Sr.
IF Jacey Parsons, Wayne, Fr.
IF Bekah Baldwin, Sissonville, Jr.
OF Katie Snodgress, Shady Spring, Jr.
OF Charity Ramsey, Braxton County, So.
OF Kaitlyn Kepplinger, Petersburg, Fr.
UT Allison Evans, Chapmanville, Sr.
UT Allison Winans, Lincoln, Fr.
UT DeeDee Loftis, Sissonville, Sr.
C Allison DeLancey, Ritchie County, Sr. (Capt.)
C Madi McGrew, Poca, Sr.
P Kelci Jones, Independence, Sr.
P Taylor Bragg, Braxton County, Jr.
P Tori May, Sherman, Jr.
P Kelsie Thompson, Liberty-Harrison, Sr.
IF Lexi Lawrence, Herbert Hoover, Sr.
IF Michelle Snodgress, Shady Spring, Jr.
IF Heather Nagy, Chapmanville, Sr.
IF Sam Hoban, Keyser, Jr.
IF McKenzie Smith, Sherman, Sr.
OF Haley Hunter, James Monroe,
OF- Lauren Rogers, Philip Barbour, Sr.
OF Vanessa Tallman, Ritchie County, Fr.
UT Jenna Evans, Chapmanville, Sr. (capt.)
UT Sami Elder, Lincoln, Jr.
UT - Mallory Chapman, Magnolia, So.
UT - Teala Holmberg, Grafton, Jr.
C Marissa Bosley, Magnolia, Sr.
C Kayla Adams, Wayne, Sr.
Special Honorable Mention
Hayle Anderson, Herbert Hoover; Hannah Bailey, PikeView; Brittani Bible, Petersburg; Brandi Broom, Chapmanville; Alex Bubenchik, Tyler Consolidated; Abby Burgess, Ritchie County; Alexis DeMoss, Shady Spring; Chelsea Duncan, Wyoming East; Payton Fetty, Wayne; Jenna Hancock, James Monroe; Kristen Hutchinson, Bluefield; Kellie Lahoda, Tolsia; Presley Lamm, Liberty-Harrison; Miranda Linville, Poca; Tasha Maynard, Wayne; Mackenzie Milam, Independence; Damia Mogielski, Herbert Hoover; Katie Muovich, Liberty-Raleigh; Abbie Smith, Liberty-Harrison; Chelsey Stout, Lincoln; Savanna Vance, Chapmanville; Erin Wambaugh, Grafton; Alyssa Ward, Independence; Makayla Wickline, James Monroe; Randi Wright, Liberty-Raleigh.
Emilee Anglin, Philip Barbour; Morgan Ball, Poca; Tayla Berry, Chapmanville; Emily Blake, Magnolia; Madi Bodnar, Sissonville; Katie Buckbee, Ravenswood; Meikka Buffo, Weir; Savana Casto, Ravenswood; Gina Cavins, Tolsia; Faith Cline, Philip Barbour; Alexis Coalson, Shady Spring; Kasey Endicott, Wayne; Brooke Foley, Independence; Emily Frye, Wayne; Corena Gray, Clay County; Taylor Haggerty, Keyser; Baylee Harless, Sherman; Hillary Hersman, James Monroe; Casey Hittel, Lincoln; Shaniah Holtz, Liberty-Harrison; Allyson Johnson, Scott; Autumn Kauff, Shady Spring; Emily Knight, Lincoln; Skylar Kroschinsky, Berkeley Springs; Casey Lassiter, Roane County; Kaitlyn Lester, Mingo Central; Taylor Maxwell, Oak Glen; Dallas Mullett, Magnolia; Alexandra Northcraft, Frankfort; Olivia Ooten, Tug Valley; Sam Pauley, Liberty-Raleigh; Brianna Pertee, Wyoming East; Ashley Pryor, Oak Glen; Alexis Rice, Frankfort; Kaci Riffle, Point Pleasant; Kaylee Ritter, Liberty-Harrison; Andrea Roles, Liberty-Raleigh; Melissa Sharp, Petersburg; Alison Shiflett, Wyoming East; Lane Shiflett, James Monroe; Amber Sontos, Clay County; Baylee Stewart, Braxton County; Jen Taylor, PikeView; Ashleigh Tignor, Herbert Hoover; Phyllis Waldron, River View; Tori Weasenforth, Petersburg; Kayla York, Bluefield; Jennifer Yost, Tyler Consolidated; Jordan Younger, Mount View.
Like the winner-take-all final contest when the sophomore, who posted a 21-3 mark with 115 strikeouts during the regular season, twirled a one-hitter against the Rebels.
That included holding DeLancey, who finished with 12 home runs, 39 stolen bases and a .622 batting average, hitless.
"Despite that game, she (DeLancey) was the best player in the state this year," said Mossor. "She has always had the ability to hit, but combine that with the talent to play any position on the field as well as the ability to steal any base at any time and there was no more complete player around.
"To be honest, I'm not sure what we are going to do without her next year."
Rowe and DeLancey were two of eight repeat performers on this year's squad. Returning to the first team from a year ago are Magnolia's Tori Tharp, Waggoner, Braxton County's Charity Ramsey, Sissonville's Dee Dee Loftis, Katie Snodgress of Shady Spring, and Chapmanville's Allison Evans.
Tharp, Rowe, Keyser's Meghan Anderson, Waggoner and Herbert Hoover's Allison Rager make up the first team pitching staff. Rowe is a sophomore and Rager is a freshman.
All posted huge numbers in 2012 with Tharp posting an 18-2 mark with 194 strikeouts and a 1.20 earned-run-average while Anderson was 14-5 (2.16 ERA), Waggoner 11-3 (0.83 ERA) and Rager 20-3 (1.23 ERA).
The first team infield includes Watts (.338, 19 RBIs), Roane County's Kelly Hall (.545, 16 RBIs), Ray (.578), Parsons (.404, 19 RBIs) and Sissonville's Bekah Baldwin (.506, 10 HR, 36 RBIs), who moved up from second team.
In the outfield, Petersburg freshman Kaitlyn Keplinger (.462, 25 RBIs) joins Snodgress (.451, 17 RBIs) and Ramsey (.436, 14 RBIs) while chosen as utility players were Evans, Lincoln freshman Allison Winans (.418, 42 RBIs, 16-3 pitching record) and Loftis (.449, 15 RBIs).
Joining DeLancey at catcher is Poca senior Madi McGrew (.564, 3 HR, 30 RBIs), a second team choice in 2011.
The second team has six repeat selections in Independence's Kelci Jones (P), a first team performer in 2011, Braxton County's Taylor Bragg (P), Teala Homberg (UT) of Grafton, Marissa Bosley (C) of Magnolia, Wayne's Kayla Adams (C) and Chapmanville's Jenna Evans (UT), who was chosen as the unit's captain.
Rounding out the second team are Sherman's Tori May and Kelsie Thompson of Liberty Harrison at pitcher, infielders Lexi Lawrence of Herbert Hoover, Sam Hoban of Keyser, McKenzie Smith of Sherman, Shady Spring's Michelle Snodgrass, and Chapmanville's Heather Nagy, outfielders Haley Hunter of James Monroe, Vanessa Tallman of Ritchie County, and Lauren Rogers of Phillip Barbour and utility players Sami Elder of Lincoln and Mallory Chapman of Magnolia.