It was a season to remember for the Wheeling Central softball team.
The Maroon Knights claimed the West Virginia Class A state championship defeating Man, 7-2, while capping a perfect 33-0 season.
With a plethora of talent everywhere on the field, the main thing to fear about the squad was who was in the circle. The opposing team knew that they were going to face one of the best pitchers in the state in Class A. Sophomores Riley Bennington and Marissa Garlitz were both named first team all-state as pitchers with Bennington being named the captain.
“Riley is intense and has a lot of confidence,” Wheeling Central coach Rick Magruder said. “She is a Very good athlete. She moves the ball around and is very tough on hitters. She also is a very good hitter and has power and runs the bases as good as anyone.”
Bennington, who burst on the scene as a freshman last year for the Maroon Knights’ state runner-up squad was stellar in the circle. She had an ERA of 0.50, striking out 157 batters in 98 innings and tallied a record of 170. The sophomore also batted .433 with 42 hits, 30 RBI, 12 doubles, six triples and two home runs.
Garlitz was just as impressive when she pitched. With an ERA of 0.81, the other sophomore ace accumulated 107 strikeouts in 89 innings of work posting a 150 record. She batted .448 with 39 hits, seven doubles and three home runs.
“Marissa is laid back and works extremely hard,” Magruder said. She’s very consistent around the plate an also a very good athlete. As a duo they work very well together and are very supportive of one another. We are confident no matter who is in the circle.”
Teammate Allie Cook was also named to the first team at a utility spot. After battling an early injury, the senior catcher put together an impressive senior season, hitting .392 with 21 runs batted in and 27 runs scored.
The OVAC was also represented well on first team as Madonna’s Katie Gosvoda returned to the team while being joined by freshman Sophia Recrosio, who was one of the catchers. Recrosio had a big first season with the Blue Dons, hitting .617 with 50 hits, 12 doubles, two triples, 22 RBI and 29 runs scored.
Gasvoda had a 14-5 record in the circle with a 1.68 ERA and 150 strikeouts.
Cameron’s Courtney Walker was tabbed as a first-team infielder (.509 BA, 28 hits, 18 RBI, 19 singles, two doubles, four triples, three home runs) while Paden City’s Taylor Cosper finished with a .486 batting average, 34 hits, six doubles, five triples, 29 runs scored and 14 stolen bases. Clay-Battelle’s Abbey Ammons was also a first-team infielder (.500 BA, four triples, nine doubles, 26 RBI and 24 runs scored).
Rounding out the infield on the first team are Williamstown’s Courtney Dotson and Man’s Cydnee Lambert. Lambert’s teammate Emilee Walker rounds out the pitchers.
In the outfield are Jordan Fox (St. Marys), Courtney Swenskie (South Harrison) and Savannah Kite (Moorefield). At the utility spots are Huntington St. Joe’s Chelsea Gale, Nellie King of Williamstown and Chase Christy of Buffalo.
Skylar Bogan of Wirt County is the second catcher.
Bishop Donahue’s Sommer South and Abbey Mele were named to the Class A second team. South was a catcher for the Bishops while Mele was put on at the utility spot. Tyler Consolidated also tabbed two players on the list in Vanessa Templeton (utility) and Madison West (outfield). Wheeling Central’s Kaitlyn Ferns, an infielder, was put on the second team along with Clay-Battelle’s Caitlyn Kassay.
The pitchers for the second team are Talia Corbett (Charleston Catholic), Ashley Fridley (Fayetteville) and Haylie Daniels (Man). Daniels was named captain of the second team. The infield is Rachel Payton (St. Marys), Kendell Carson (Charleston Catholic) and Paige Metzger (Huntington St. Joe).
In the outfield are Courtney Hamilton (Fayetteville) and Brooklyn Hinzman (Doddridge County). The other utility spots belong to Clarksburg Notre Dame’s Kira Riffle, Bethany Smith (Moorefield) and Katlynn Rasnake (Buffalo).
Sydney Keffer of Man rounds out the team at the other catcher position.
CHARLESTON – The 2016 Class A softball all-state team, as voted on by the West Virginia Sports Writers Association.
P — Riley Bennington, Wheeling Central, So. (captain)
P — Katie Gasvoda, Madonna, So.
P — Marissa Garlitz, Wheeling Central, So.
P — Emilee Walker, Man, So.
IF — Courtney Dotson, Williamstown, Jr.
IF — Courtney Walker, Cameron, So.
IF — Taylor Cosper, Paden City, Sr.
IF — Abbey Ammons, Clay-Battelle, So.
IF — Cydnee Lambert, Man, Sr.
OF — Jordan Fox, St. Marys, Sr.
OF — Courtney Swenskie, South Harrison, Jr.
OF — Savannah Kite, Moorefield, Sr.
UTIL — Chelsea Gale, St. Joseph, Sr.
UTIL — Nellie King, Williamstown, Jr.
UTIL — Chase Christy, Buffalo, Sr.
UTIL — Allie Cook, Wheeling Central, Sr.
C — Sophia Recrosio, Madonna, Fr.
C — Skylar Bogan, Wirt County, So.
P — Talia Corbett, Charleston Catholic, Sr.
P — Ashley Fridley, Fayetteville, So.
P — Haylee Daniels, Man, Jr. (captain)
IF — Caitlyn Kassay, Clay-Battelle, Fr.
IF —Rachel Payton, St. Marys, Jr.
IF — Kendell Carson, Charleston Catholic, Sr.
IF — Paige Metzgar, St. Joseph, Jr.
IF — Kaitlyn Ferns, Wheeling Central, Fr.
OF — Courtney Hamilton, Fayetteville, Jr.
OF — Brooklyn Hinzman, Doddridge County, Fr.
OF — Madison West, Tyler Consolidated, Jr.
UTIL — Kira Riffle, Clarksburg Notre Dame, Fr.
UTIL — Abbey Mele, Bishop Donahue, Sr.
UTIL — Bethany Smith, Moorefield, Jr.
UTIL — Katlynn Rasnake, Buffalo, So.
UTIL — Vanessa Templeton, Tyler Consolidated, Jr.
C — Sydney Keffer, Man, Jr.
C — Sommer South, Bishop Donahue, Sr.
SPECIAL HONORABLE MENTION
Cheyenne Currey, Doddridge County
Hope Ruza, Bishop Donahue
Kelsie Meintel, Cameron
Cheyenne Currey, Doddridge County
Julia Hahn, East Hardy
Faith Norris, Fayetteville
Haley Wanstreet, Gilmer County
Bayley Wellings, Gilmer County
Makayla Adkins, Greenbrier West
Meredith Lauderdale, Greenbrier West
Courtney Kaczmarek, Madonna
Taylor Thompson, Madonna
Ashley Mordan, Notre Dame
Aubrey Neff, Paden City
Nikki Santonio, Sherman
Tori Stout, South Harrison
Avery Korne, St. Joseph
Mady Hardbarger, Wirt County
Brooke Persinger, Buffalo
Tori Allen, Calhoun County
Marissa Meintel, Cameron
Nicole Mossor, Doddridge County
Mikala Keplinger, Doddridge County
Alexa Roles, Fayetteville
Sarah Travaglino, Madonna
Haley Ingraham, Montcalm
Katie Devericks, South Harrison
Jordan Martin, South Harrison
Jordyn Rowh, Notre Dame
Cora Younts, Richwood
Cloey Toney, Sherman
Natalie Payton, St. Marys
Rachel Roque, Wahama
Hannah Mozingo, Wheeling Central
Kristin Harmon, Williamstown
Jessi Lockhart, Wirt County