BUFFALO - West Virginia's top Class A program will again shuffle off to the state tournament in Vienna.Chelsey Parkins tossed a one-hit shutout and struck out 12 Friday evening to lead Buffalo to a 2-0 win against Doddridge County in the Region 4 final.The two-time defending state champion Bison (31-4), winner of 19 straight, plays in the state tournament at 9:45 a.m. Wednesday against Region 1 champ Wheeling Central.No team has won three softball titles in a row in any class since AA Sissonville (2000-02) and the last Class A team to do it was Wheeling Central, which took four straight from 1998-2001.
"We played all season with the thoughts of no pressure,'' said Bison coach Darrell Moore, "but in the back of their minds, there's always pressure on the kids to three-peat."There will be four good teams in that state tournament and it's going to come down to a bunt or an error that will make a difference in championship play.''
Parkins said Buffalo has been able to perform all year under the high expectations."I think it puts pressure on other people around the sport,'' she said. "I think we play well under pressure.''Friday's game was scoreless through the first four innings until top-ranked Buffalo scored one run each in the fifth and sixth.Megan Sheets pitched a five-hitter and fanned eight for the No. 8 Bulldogs (19-10) and Ashlie LaFalce broke up Parkins' no-hit bid with a single in the seventh."We play good defense,'' Parklns said, "and even if we have one error here and one error there, we don't let it bother us. Everyone has everyone's back, and I think that's what our success has been due to.''Buffalo played errorless ball Friday. Parkins doubled for the Bison and Katie Allen drove in one run with a bunt single.Reach Rick Ryan at 304-348-5175 or firstname.lastname@example.org.