CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The Wahama Lady Falcons of head coach Chris Noble once again stood atop the Class A field when all was said and done, securing a repeat state championship.
Junior Mikie Lieving, who went 3-0 with 42 strikeouts in 21 innings of work at Little Creek Park, was named captain of the all-state first team as selected by the West Virginia Sports Writers Association.
“Mikie has had another incredible season, both pitching and offensively,” admitted Noble, who watched his ace go 21-2 with a 1.63 ERA and 269 strikeouts in 154 2-3 innings to go along with a .644 average, 15 doubles, 10 triples, a dozen round-trippers, 42 runs-batted-in and 12 stolen bases. “She has natural talent, plus she puts in the work.”
For the second straight spring, the White Falcons had three players earn a nod on the top unit — battery mate Amber Wolfe, a junior, and senior shortstop Lauren Noble.
Wolfe threw out 13 runners (38.1% caught stealing) and finished with a .538 average, 17 doubles, one triple, 12 home runs and 56 RBIs. Noble, who had just two errors and fielded .968, led WHS with 57 runs-batted-in. She had a .636 average, 15 doubles, one triple and 10 bombs.
“They have had an incredible year,” said the coach, whose team finished 29-2. “Amber behind the plate, she really helps Mikie back there.
“In my opinion, Amber is the best catcher in the state. Those three, I don’t think they know how big they are with the other ones. They brought that team together.”
Five other players repeated on the first team and that included Buffalo senior Abby Darnley, who also made the first team as a freshman. Selected at utility, the Bison batted .534 with 12 doubles, a trio of triples, six homers and 25 RBIs. She also swiped two dozen bases.
Man junior Morgan Cooper, whose team lost by scores of 2-0 and 3-1 in the regional to Wahama, was back on the top unit. She went 13-6 with 0.66 ERA and amassed 253 strikeouts in 117 innings. She had a .415 average, knocked in 11 runs to go along with a quartet of doubles, two triples and three home runs.
Ravenswood catcher Hattie Kennedy, who was a first team outfielder as a junior, threw out nine runners and finished with a .551 average. The Red Devil also drew 12 walks against just three strikeouts and had 10 doubles, 10 steals, three triples, two homers and 23 RBIs.
The other repeat honorees were infield selections with St. Marys sophomore Zoey Winland (.429 AVG, 7-6-3, 25 RBIs, 13 SBs) and Sherman senior Hailea Skeens (.536 AVG, 10 HR, 28 RBIs).
Tug Valley’s Autumn Hall and Gilmer County’s Taylor McHenry, both seniors, are on the first team for a second time after making it in 2019 as freshmen. Hall compiled 11 wins, a 1.97 ERA and 182 strikeouts. The Panthers also hit .474 with nine doubles, one tater and a baker’s dozen runs-batted-in. The Titan not only averaged .544 and drove in 52, but she had 10 doubles, seven triples and 14 home runs.
Doddridge County junior Josalyn Lipscomb (.500 AVG, 15-5-8, 44 RBIs, 22 SBs) was the other first team infield selection.
Wheeling Central freshman Josie Frizzell, who led the Maroon Knights to the regional before falling to St. Marys, joined Petersburg sophomore Sam Colaw (12-1, 1.80 ERA, 107 Ks) as the other pitchers on the first team.
Petersburg, which finished state runner-up, also landed Braylee Corbin (.553 AVG, 6 HRs, 25 RBIs) on first team at utility.
Freshman Cali Masters helped St. Marys reach the second day of the state tournament and also earned a nod on the first team at utility. Along with a 9-2 record that featured a 1.71 ERA with 79 punchouts in 65 2-3 innings, the Blue Devil hit .398 with 10 doubles, a triple, four home runs and 21 RBIs.
Midland Trail reached the state tournament and was represented on the first team at utility by senior Meghan Gill (.426 AVG, 2 HRs, 2.40 ERA, 111 Ks).
Joining Skeens and Winland in the outfield were two seniors — Buffalo’s Katie Darnley (.430 AVG, eight doubles, 28 steals, 20 RBIs) and James Monroe’s Shannon Phipps (.460 AVG, 3 HRs, 34 RBIs).
Sherman pitcher Chloe Treadway was selected as captain of the second team.
Also honored on the second unit were pitchers Ella Smith of St. Marys and Buffalo’s Alex Hill. The five infielders were Petersburg’s Mickala Taylor, Williamstown’s Kameron Beck, Man’s Ashlee Tomblin, Charleston Catholic’s Aubrey McCoy and St. Marys’ Breanna Price.
Tyler Consolidated’s Leah Loudin, Man’s Baylee Muncy and Moorefield’s Sterling Kump were the second team outfielders.
A trio of catchers — Tug Valley’s Emily Hatfield, Ritchie County’s Jayci Gray and Midland Trail’s Sydney Sheets — along with four utility spots — Charleston Catholic’s Maddie Morris, Sherman’s Lauren Guthrie, Van’s Emma Wilson and Ravenswood’s Macy Casto completed the second team.
Jay W. Bennett is a sports reporter for the Parkersburg News and Sentinel and provided this story on behalf of the WVSWA.