John Marshall Splits Doubleheader Against Washington


photo by: Kim North

John Marshall pitcher A.C. Cumberledge, left, and first baseman Nia Miller converge on an infield pop up Friday amidst the snow flurries during the first game of a doubleheader against Washington High on Monarch Field. Cumberledge caught the ball for an out. The Monarchs won the nightcap, 11-2, in five innings for a split.

GLEN DALE – A pair of highly ranked W.Va. Class AAA softball teams met for a doubleheader Friday on blustery Monarch Field, with visiting Washington High winning the first game 8-6. John Marshall bounced back with a 11-2 victory in five innings in the nightcap to earn the split

The Eastern Panhandle Patriots (8-2) entered the twinbill in a tie for sixth-place in the first coaches poll of the season with Spring Valley. They are coached by 2005 Wheeling Central graduate Amanda Orkoskey. Their other loss was to No. 4 Jefferson, who defeated the Monarchs for the 2022 state title but lost to them, 9-0, earlier this season.

The defending state champion Monarchs (10-3) were No. 3 but saw their four-game winning streak come to an end. The team they defeated for their state title last spring, Cabell Midland, was atop the poll followed by Lincoln County. Cabell Midland received four first-place votes, while Lincoln County and John Marshall had two each.

In the opener, Washington struck for a pair of runs in each of the first two innings for a 4-0, thanks to home runs by Carly Constantino (1st inning) and Courtney Greenfield (2nd inning). The lead increased to 7-0 in the top of the fourth when Carly Constantino walked with the bases loaded and Kalyn Dean followed with a two-run double to left-center.

John Marshall finally broke through against Chloe Constantino for three runs in the bottom of the fourth. Marshall University recruit Ava Blake drew a leadoff walk and AC Cumberledge drilled the first pitch she saw over the fence in left for a 7-2 count. Reese Ward doubled to the corner in left and scored when Kaylee White lined a two-strike double off the fence in left-center. White would advance to third on a wild pitch with no outs, but the next three batters were retired without further damage.

“We fell behind early and tried to make a comeback, but it was too little, too late,” John Marshall head coach Rob Blake said of the first game. “We couldn’t string any hits together except for the fourth and seventh innings.”

After the visitors added a solo tally in the sixth for an 8-3 lead, Tori Finley legged out an infield single with two outs in the bottom of the seventh. Masyn Inclan looped a single over first base and Blake unloaded a mammoth three-run moonshot – her seventh of the season – well over the fence in deep center that pulled the Monarchs to within 8-6, but they would get no closer.

Sheby Crow pitched well in relief.

“She did an excellent job,” Coach Blake noted. “She did what we needed her to do.”

The freshman struck out four and walked none in allowing one hit in 3.2 innings of work.

In the nightcap, Crow allowed just two hits and fanned a pair in the abbreviated contest.

“That was a good bounce-back win against a good team,” Coach Blake said. “We’ll see another good team tomorrow.”

Blake capped the 11-hit attack with a two-run walk-off homer in the bottom of the fifth. It was her eighth of the season.

Alexis Thayer sparked the JM attack as she belted two home runs and collected five runs batted in. Inclan singled four times while Cumberledge and Ward had RBI doubles.

Greenfield slugged her second homer of the day – a two-run shot – in the fourth for the Patriots only runs.

John Marshall will host Jefferson High, another Eastern Panhandle squad, today for a twinbill starting at noon.

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