The Times West Virginian

Prep Sports

May 22, 2014

Bees one win from state tourney

FAIRMONT — The drill is called “21 outs.”

The East Fairmont softball team plays it often during practices, with coach John Postlewait hitting ground balls, pop flies and line drives.

The objective is for the Bees to record 21 consecutive outs before they can be finished. Boot a grounder, muff a fly ball or overthrow the first baseman, and the Bees have to start all over again.

“We have to focus,” shortstop Mikayla Moore said. “We can’t cave under pressure.”

Thursday when the Bees travel to Ritchie County for the Region I title game, they find themselves just one game — or 21 outs — from a state championship appearance.

While it isn’t necessary for all of the outs to occur in order, the stakes are much higher than at practice. There will be no starting over if the Bees make an error today.

“We’re going to come out and play solid defense because they have some hitters,” said Postlewait, who has coached the Bees to the regional finals three of the last four years but has never advanced to the state tournament. “We’ve got to take the outs when they give them to us. We can’t afford to extend innings.”

Defense will be of prime importance today with Ritchie County’s Keena DeLancey in the circle. The sophomore has a glove-popping fastball that makes her among the best pitchers the Bees’ have faced this season.

The Bees ride a seven-game win streak into the contest and will counter with senior Tori Postlewait, who has surrendered just five runs (some of those unearned) in the last six games.

Ritchie County enters the game at 24-5, an impressive figure. However, it will give the Bees (16-8) a bit more confidence to know that one of those losses came to Bridgeport, which East Fairmont beat 7-3 in the second game of the season.

The Rebels also eked out a one-run win against North Marion, which East Fairmont beat two of three times. Ritchie County also narrowly edged Oak Glen, 2-0, in the semi-regional, a team that the Bees split with during a doubleheader.

The results against the common opponents may provide a glimpse into how the game will go, but really all that matters is how the Bees match up with the Rebels head-to-head.

More to the point, the game will be decided by which team can play a cleaner 21 outs.

“We just have to come out and play our game,” Postlewait said. “If we get down early, we can’t hang our heads.”

Email Mike DeFabo at mdefabo@timeswv.com or follow him on Twitter @MikeDeFaboTWV.

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