WHEELING — On Thursday, Magnolia scored 18 runs and banged out 23 hits. Friday was a different story — and pitcher.
Wheeling Central’s Josie Frizzell continued her excellent work inside the circle as the top-seeded Maroon Knights blanked No. 2 Magnolia, 3-0, in the W.Va. Class A Section I winner’s bracket finals on sun-soaked Ben’s Field at the J.B. Chambers I-470 Sports Complex.
“Josie did a really good job. She walked a few but was able to work through it,” Wheeling Central head coach Buck Davidson said. “She made some big pitches to get outs when she was behind in the count.”
With the win, Wheeling Central (18-3) will sit until Tuesday, waiting on whomever comes out of the loser’s bracket. Madonna eliminated Paden City, 6-3, on Friday and hosts Cameron Saturday. That winner meets the Blue Eagles (13-9) on Monday, with the winner having to beat the Maroon Knights twice.
Frizzell, just a sophomore, struck out 11 and walked three in her route-going performance. The right now has 214 strikeouts on the season. She only allowed a one-out single to Haidyn Bland in the third, but Bland was thrown out attempting to steal by catcher Ava Hanson. Frizzell faced four batters over the minimum and didn’t let a Blue Eagle get to third. Only Bland, who was hit with the first pitch of the game, made it to second after Emma Steele walked with 1 out in the first.
“You’re not going to win many games with just one hit,” Magnolia head coach Danny Anderson said. “Their pitcher did a good job. She worked the (strike) zone real well. She worked in-and-out and kept us off-balance.
Maddie Miehle’s RBI single up the middle with two outs in the second scored Joselyn Shaw who had doubled down the line in left for a 1-0 lead. Hanson’s grounder to short turned into a fielder’s choice as nobody covered the bag at second. The blunder proved costly when Payton Smith looped a single to right-center as Miehle raced home for a 2-0 reading.
“I hate to say it, but good teams do it against us. I consider us to be a good team, so I expect us to take advantage of mistakes like that,” Davidson said.
Brook Edge sent an 0-2 pitch well over the fence in left for her eighth roundtripper of the year as the lead grew to 3-0.
“She’s hitting the ball really well and really hard right now,” Davidson said of Edge, who belted a trio of doubles a night earlier against Cameron.
That was plenty of run support for Frizzell, who averages 10 punch outs an outing. She threw 89 pitches, with 65 being strikes. She also got ahead of 24 of the 28 Blue Eagles she faced by throwing a first-pitch strike and struck out the side in the seventh to end the 1-hour, 17-minute game.
Magnolia’s Olivia Stine pitched well enough to win. She fanned three, issued two free passes and scattered seven hits.
“The first run came with two outs and so did the second run after we made a mental error,” Anderson recalled of the second inning. “Olivia pitched well.”
Wheeling Central left seven runners on base, including the bases loaded in the second. It stranded two each in the fifth and sixth as Stine wiggled out of trouble.
“We need to do a better job of hitting with runners on, but hey, we’ll take the win and get ready for whomever we play on Tuesday,” Davidson noted.