By Bill Nestor
Lincoln’s softball team has been on top for a long time and this year, they are attempting to become the class AA champions. Cougar head coach Yancey Weaver has been busy building one of the most consistent softball programs in the Mountain State. This past week, they took the first step in the three step process.
Lincoln claimed the sectional title with an 8-0 rain shortened win over Robert C. Byrd in Shinnston. The recipe for success didn’t change from the one that led the team to a 20 win regular season: dominant pitching, impressive defense, and an explosive offense. The Cougars are a fundamentally solid squad that plays its best in the biggest games.
In three games ( a pair of victories over the Flying Eagles that were sandwiched around a win over Phillip Barbour.) Lincoln outscored its opponents 16-1. Weaver and company left no doubt as to which team was the hottest to start second season play.
The opening sectional triumph was a 5-0 win over Robert C. Byrd, Delaney Haller proved two of the three above mentioned attributes. Haller tossed a shutout that included 14 strikeouts. She also scored and drove in the game winning run as she led off the match up with a solo home run. The Cougars would plate two more runs in the first inning and two more in the second to conclude the contest’s scoring.
Emily Robey was the game’s only multi-hit performer, finishing 3 of 4 with an RBI. Alexis Williams had a home run, drove in three runs, and scored a run to aid in the win.
This past Monday, the Cougars started the week off on a good note by knocking off Phillip Barbour 3-1 in Shinnston. Lincoln broke a scoreless tie in the bottom of the fourth inning. Robey singled and was driven in by Cadence Lambert. The Colts would manage to tie the affair at 1-1. The bottom of the sixth inning was the difference maker for the host. The Cougars put pressure on Phillip Barbour by putting a pair on with Lambert at the dish. She delivered a two run single for the game winning runs.
Just two days later, Lincoln would host the Flying Eagles that were fresh off a win over Phillip Barbour, but were operating on limited rest. The Cougars would strike first in the bottom of the first. Haller would earn a free pass and would advance on a bunt from EmaLee Brown. Haller would score on a ground out from Karriss Drain. It would be all of the run production that Haller would need. Haller would go on to throw a no hitter while striking out 12 Robert C. Byrd batters.
Lincoln came up with seven insurance runs in the fourth inning when six straight Cougar batters would reach base, leading to an offensive explosion of epic proportions, all but sealing the victory.
Lambert went two for three with a double to pace the attack. She also had three runs batted in and scored a run. Lexi Owens was the game’s only multi hit performer, going 2 for 2 in the affair. Robey claimed a triple with an RBI and run scored as well.
Haller’s dominance in the circle is the key for continued success. Earlier she eclipsed the 800 mark for strikeouts in a career. Here is to many more for Haller as the Cougars continue their journey for a title.
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