SETH — They’re celebrating at Sherman High School and throughout the Boone County area after the Tide softball team earned its first trip to the state tournament last week.
Sherman defeated Fayetteville, 18-0, to claim the Class A, Region III title. The win came after the Lady Tide breezed through the sectional, defeating Valley twice in the double-elimination round.
Then, the Tide beat Man in the semi-regional before crushing Fayetteville to gain their first trip to Jackson Park in Vienna where the state tournament is played.
The Tide kicks off action there in the opening round on field 3 of the Jackson Park complex. Before their win over Fayetteville, the Tide had won only three other sectional tournaments to even make it to the regional round.
Veteran Tide Coach Jim Henderson, who earlier coached Sherman’s boys basketball team, said he was “thrilled” Henderson told a reporter he was showered with congratulations when he arrived at the school Friday, hours after his team’s win over Fayetteville Thursday evening. “It’s a special moment,” he said.
Sherman, whose up-and-down regular season contributed to a 20-13 record finished sixth in the final Class A state poll. Their 9:30 a.m., opponent, was fourth in the last rankings. Their won-loss record is not as good as Sherman’s, however.
Sherman can trace much of their record to an extremely tough regular season schedule. They played three games against defending Class A champion Buffalo, winning one. They also fell to Double A’s number five team, Ritchie County; Class AA number one Herbert Hoover and number two Sissonville, as well as Class AAA number four Logan.
But all three previous regional squads did not accomplish what the 2014 Lady Tide did. “You should have seen the smiles on the girls’ faces,” said Henderson. “They knew this was a special, first-time deal.”
Henderson said the current team owes a debt of gratitude to past Sherman teams and their accomplishments. “This one is for all our previous teams that came so close,” he said.
“Those kids’ names are still in our record books and the community remembers them.”
Henderson maintains the tougher competition helped his squad. Sherman, which has been a Class AA school at times in the past, basically played at Double A schedule, he said. “I think if you’re ever going to be really good you have to play a challenging schedule.”
A basic rule of high school softball is that an outstanding pitcher assures a team’s success. Sherman has such a pitcher in ace junior Kylie Wells. She threw a one-hitter against Fayetteville and drove a home run against Man in the semis. Most coaches maintain handling the pitching is the main concern at state tournament time. With pitchers limited to the number of innings they can toss in a day, a key is to make sure the ace pitches just the number of innings required to win.
Junior second base player Jordan Lewis tops the team in batting average, with a .371. She also stroked five triples. Catcher Hali Jarrell, a senior, is batting .366. Senior Baylee Harless, a four-year starter at shortstop, hit .356, slugged five home runs and ten doubles. Harless has signed to play college ball at WVU Tech in Montgomery.
Although most state softball tournaments have been plagued with rainy weather, often postponing games, the forecast for Parkersburg, Vienna and vicinity was for clear skies as the week began.