FAIRMONT — East Fairmont’s Madison Corbin and North Marion’s Cara Minor firmly established themselves as the top players in Marion County this season, but on Wednesday, their lofty merits spilled over into statewide recognition when the Class AA All-State teams were announced, as selected by the West Virginia Sports Writers Association.
Both Corbin and Minor earned all-state second-team honors, with Corbin’s nod coming as one of four second-team pitchers and Minor’s as one of the four available utility spots.
Corbin and Minor, who were previously named the Times West Virginian Pitcher and Hitter of the Year, respectively, were the anchors for their teams all season long, both at the plate and on the hill.
Corbin was the heart of the Lady Bees’ breakthrough season in which they won the sectional championship for the first time in five years. She exuded a cutthroat demeanor as the Bees’ ace on the mound, where she finished the season with a tidy 2.17 ERA to go with 115 strikeouts in 93.2 innings of work. She was equally effective in the batter’s box, where she hit a remarkable .523 with a .852 slugging percentage as she racked up 12 doubles, three triples and three homers.
Minor, meanwhile, was an unbreakable foundation for the Huskies this season, with her two-way abilities helping to turn around a slow start for NMHS. She was a locked into everything at the plate out of the team’s clean-up spot where she connected for a gaudy .588 batting average with a .636 on-base percentage and .897 slugging percentage for an elite 1.533 OPS, all team highs. Minor also led NMHS with 16 extra-base hits and 25 RBIs. And on the hill, she managed a 4.90 ERA with 55 strikeouts versus just 20 walks in 86.1 innings.
Also earning all-state recognition from Marion County were East Fairmont’s Tori Lambert and North Marion’s Bailey Malnick as special honorable mention selections, while EFHS’s Shay Swiger and NMHS’s Ashton Malnick earned honorable mention.
To no surprise, Class AA titan Herbert Hoover headlined the all-state teams, with the Huskies marching to their third-straight state title this season.
At the forefront of that path to the team’s three-peat was pitching phenom Delani Buckner, who was named the all-state first-team captain. Just a junior, Buckner threw six perfect games and five additional no-hitters in going 20-1 with a minuscule 0.33 ERA. She struck out 273 hitters and walked just 18 in 127 innings. In addition, Buckner hit .495 with nine doubles, two home runs and 33 RBIs as the team’s cleanup hitter.
Joining Buckner on the first team are teammates Presley McGee and Cortney Fizer.
McGee made the unit as a utility player, as she was the Huskies’ shortstop and No. 2 pitcher. She was nearly as effective in the circle as Buckner, as she went 15-0 with a 0.72 ERA and 136 strikeouts in 68 innings. She hit .376 with 12 doubles and 37 RBIs. Fizer, a sophomore first baseman hit .429 with nine doubles, five homers and 38 RBIs.
Independence, Bridgeport and Nitro all placed two girls on the first team as well to make four squads with multiple first-team selections.
Independence has two infielders selected to the team in senior shortstop Nicole Kester and sophomore second baseman Kaylen Parks. Kester hit .509 with four homers, eight triples, 25 RBIs and 28 steals. Parks hit .467 with eight homers and 48 RBIs.
Bridgeport lands senior shortstop Emily Riggs and sophomore centerfielder Paige Humble on the team. Riggs, who gave up a softball scholarship to Pitt to play basketball at Fairmont State collegiately, hit .500 for the Indians with seven homers and 33 RBIs, while walking a whopping 34 times. Humble, a fleet-footed, strong-armed outfielder, hit .520 with 14 doubles, three triples and four home runs as the Tribe’s leadoff hitter.
Nitro placed sophomore pitcher Bella Savilla on the team along with utility player Lena Elkins. Savilla compiled a 16-3 record on the mount with a stellar 1.26 ERA. She had 152 strikeouts in 128 innings in the circle and hit .358 with 12 home runs and 49 RBIs. Elkins, a freshman, played first base when Savilla was on the mound and hit .442 with 12 homers and 45 RBIs. In the circle, she went 11-5 with a 2.39 ERA with 93 strikeouts in 82 innings.
Joining Savilla and Buckner as first-team pitchers are Wyoming East’s Holly Brehm and Petersburg’s Carly Cooper. Cooper, a junior who led the Vikings to the state title game against Hoover, went 17-0 through regional play with a 0.61 ERA and 176 strikeouts in 81 innings. Brehm struck out a staggering 353 batters in 161 2/3 innings in going 21-5 with nine no-hitters and a 0.61 ERA.
The catchers come from the north-central area of the state as Lewis County senior Bella Posey and Liberty-Harrison freshman Emma Kyle earned first-team status. Posey, who has made either first or second team all-state all four years of her high school career, batted .500 with eight doubles, two homers and 26 RBIs, while not making an error. Kyle hit .531 for the Mountaineers with eight doubles, six triples and nine home runs.
Sissonville senior Jenna Thomas rounds out the infield. The hard-hitting third baseman hit .490 with 13 homers and 52 RBIs.
Joining Humble as outfielders are Robert C. Byrd senior Tiara Snyder and Winfield freshman Kennedy Dean. Snyder moves up from the second team as a junior. She led the Eagles with a .497 average from her leadoff position and banged out 16 extra base hits in addition to stealing 17 bases. The speedy, strong-armed centerfielder made just one error. Dean batted .368 and clubbed eight homers with 30 RBIs for the Generals.
Rounding out the first unit are utility players Allie Mace of Roane County and Bradlea Hayhurst of Shady Spring. Mace, a sophomore, hit .633 with six homers and 54 RBIs, and was 14-6 in the circle. Hayhurst, a junior, hit .609 with eight homers and 49 RBIs.
Petersburg, Weir and Lewis County each placed two girls on the second unit.
Heading the second team is Petersburg catcher Bryanna Moreland. The junior hit .568 with six homers and 40 RBIs. Joining her on the unit is junior outfielder Katie Koontz, who hit .442.
Weir had junior catcher Sophia Mikula and utility player Mallory Rosnick on the second team, while Lewis County placed junior utility player Zoey Henline and sophomore infielder Morgan Riffle on the unit.
Herbert Hoover’s array of talent didn’t stop with its top three players, as freshman Grayson Buckner made the second unit as an infielder, as she rotated between shortstop and second base depending upon who was pitching.
The second team pitching staff is comprised of Corbin, Sissonville freshman Madison Legg, Liberty-Raleigh freshman Paige Maynard and Lincoln senior Madi Andrick, a Fairmont State recruit.
Joining Grayson Buckner and Riffle in the infield are Roane County senior Ashlyn Spears, Point Pleasant junior Peyton Jordan and Shady Spring freshman Olivia Barnett.
Oak Hill junior Savannah Holbrook and Nitro sophomore Kerigan Moore round out the outfield.
Oak Glen freshman Madison McKay joins Minor as utility players to round out the second unit.