By BOB REDD
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
The James Monroe Lady Mavericks have won the sectional championship every year the school opened in 1995. However, the Lady Mavs have never played in the state tournament.
James Monroe can schedule that trip to Vienna, not Austria, but just outside of Parkersburg for the Class AA state tournament, if they are able to hold off the Westside Renegades.
James Monroe finds itself in the regional championship game having shut out Mount View 15-0 on a no-hitter pitched by Mikayla Wickline. Wickline struck out batters for 13 of the 15 outs recorded in the game. The other two outs were a pop-out to second base and a grounder back to her on the mound and she tossed the batter out at first. Wickline missed a perfect game as she walked the leadoff batter of the game.
James Monroe comes into tonight’s game with a 22-5 record. All five of the Lady Mavericks’ setbacks have come at the hands of Class AAA opponents — Logan, Hurricane, Greenbrier East and Shady Spring (twice).
The two teams have met this season and head coach Greg Wickline talked about the Lady Renegades of Westside (21-6).
“We played those guys earlier in the year and they are a really good team,” Coach Wickline said. “Their pitcher, she has control of all of her pitches and she spots the ball really well. Their catcher was pretty good as well. She doesn’t let any balls by her. We’re going to have our hands full.”
The pitcher which Coach Wickline speaks of is sophomore Cassidee Blankenship who posted a 19-5 record and 2.14 ERA. The catcher is Leah Pack who compiled a .382 batting average with four home runs.
In the only meeting of the two teams this season James Monroe came away with a 7-6 win on March 23.
Coach Wickline and the Lady Mavericks will send their ace into the circle this evening.
“Mikayla (Wickline) will start tomorrow and she should be just fine,” Coach Wickline said. “Our girls are confident about the game. They are working well and hitting at the right time means a lot. Hitting is contagious. Hopefully we are able to go out and manage to get a few runs on their pitcher.”
Greg Wickline said the team knows what is at stake against Westside.
“These girls have worked really hard the last few years and this is exactly what they are shooting for,” Coach Wickline commented. “We’ve been talking about this since day one of practice. It’s for sure in the girls’ minds and that’s what they want to accomplish, win this game and go to states.”
The coach admits his team is a “big banged up,” but he is not worried about it.
“We’ve lost a couple (of players) because of injury, but we usually don’t focus on that (injuries),” Coach Wickline said. “We go with what we’ve got. One girl will step up when another is ailing a little bit. They are a tight-knit group and get along well. It’s a blessing to coach them and I hope the best for them and hope we are able to hang on against Westside, take one from them and be able to go to states.”
First pitch is scheduled for 5:30 at James Monroe.
—Contact Bob Redd
at email@example.com �