ELM GROVE - On a night when the OVAC Softball All-Stars displayed their wares, one star shone brighter than all the others at the J.B. Chambers I-470 Complex.
John Marshall's Amy Rotriga lived up to all the lofty statistics she compiled during her career. The lefthander struck out a dozen in West Virginia's 7-2 victory over Ohio on Lisa's Field Wednesday night before a packed house.
"Amy's a really good player and she had an outstanding career for us," John Marshall and West Virginia head coach Ed West said of his ace, who will attend Wheeling Jesuit. "She's been very consistent for four years and I'm glad she got to finish her career with a good performance."
OHIO INFIELDER Becky Burkhart records an out at second base of John Marshall’s Kylie Howard on a force play during Wednesday’s OVAC?All-Star Softball Game in Elm Grove. The West Virginia squad won the game, 7-2. Additional images may be found at cu.timesleaderonline.com
Rotriga, the hard-throwing Monarch, started the game and fanned seven batters over the first three innings. Then, after Morgantown's Tara Hanson whiffed five in her four-inning stint, Rotriga came back on and punched out five batters.
"We just couldn't get any offense going," Buckeye Local and Ohio head coach Joe Soos allowed. "Their pitchers did a very good job, but it's an all-star game.
"We played everyone and had fun," he continued. "I think everyone seemed to have a good time. Sure, we would've liked to win, but we came up short."
The Mountaineers took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first when John Marshall's lightning-quick Kristin Lewicki reached on an error and stole second. With one out, she trotted home when Monarchs' teammate Kylie Howard singled sharply to center off of Fort Frye ace Victoria Mimken.
It remained that way until the top of the fifth when the Buckeyes plated their only two tallies.
Edison's Molly McCoy smashed a single through the legs of the first baseman. Indian Creek's Paige DeMattio laid down a perfect bunt single as McCoy hustled to third. DeMattio took second on the throw to third. Shenandoah's Leah Hill struck out, but the third strike was dropped as she headed for first. The throw there beat her, but McCoy raced home to tie the game.
Two pitches later, DeMattio scored on a wild pitch as Ohio took a 2-1 lead.
Bridgeport's Ashley Hadzima took over inside the circle for Mimken to start the third. The Bulldogs' four-year ace kept West Virginia off the scoreboard during her two innings of work.
However, the Mountaineers bunched three hits together in the bottom of the sixth. They scored three runs and never looked back.
With one out, Howard, the 2012 OVAC Class 5A Player of the Year, sliced a triple down the rightfield line. She was caught in a rundown between third and home on Weir's Meikka Buffo's comebacker. Buffo, who took second on the play, would scoot around the bases on a double to left-center by Wheeling Park's Kristen Slater. Slater eventually came around and scored on a single by John Marshall's Morgan Watson, making it 4-2.
Wheeling Park's Kelly Albers drilled a double to the fence in left-center leading off the seventh. She would come home on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Wheeling Central's Vanessa Saseen to up the count to 5-2.
Hanson led off the eighth with a double to left-center. After Bishop Donahue's Andrea Guzek sacrificed her to third, she trotted home on a double by high school teammate Heather Mellie. Mellie would score the final run of the game on a single by Oak Glen's Jordan Cunningham.
The OVAC Players of the Year were honored in between innings. Those awards went to: Class A Hannah Absalom (St. John Central); Class 2A Taylor Clark (Steubenville Catholic); Class 3A Victoria Mimken (Fort Frye); Class 4A Lauren Swiger (Buckeye Local) and Katie Ellzy (Harrison Central); and 5A Amy Rotriga (John Marshall).
The contest took just over two hours to complete.
The Coach of the Year honor went to Barb Sleek (Fort Frye).
Donating their time to umpire the game were: John Hamm (Home Plate); Randy Gasaway (First Base); Donnie Martin (Second Base); and Chris Rueckle (Third Base).
Ohio was held to three singles. St. John Central's Kaydie Coppa had one. Bellaire's Megan Ging worked two innings in the circle, striking out one.
Ohio 000 020 000 - 2 3 3
West Virginia 100 003 12x - 7 9 0
Batteries: Mimken, Hadzima (3), Ging (5), Tice (7) and Smith, Brown (3), Smith (6), Brown (8). Rotriga, Hanson (4), Rotriga (8) and Lewicki, Buffo (4) and Bryan (7)
North can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org