Both the Sissonville and Poca softball teams were coming off their biggest wins of the young season and looking to build off it.
The Indians did just that, earning a decisive 9-0 mercy-rule victory at home over the Dots in five innings.
Poca had just knocked off one of the state’s top Class AA programs, Herbert Hoover, in its last contest, while Sissonville defeated defending Class A champion Buffalo.
It was all Indians, though, scoring two runs in the first inning, two more in the second, and then following that up with a five runs in the third inning. The victory improves Sissonville to 4-1 with all but one victory coming by mercy rule. The Indians beat Buffalo 11-3 and Mingo Central 19-0.
“This is actually our third one (mercy rule) this year,” said Sissonville standout pitcher and hitter Alexee Haynes, who has already committed to Division I Pittsburgh as a sophomore. “It is really good and makes you feel great about how the season is going. We are getting better and hitting. I am pretty happy with how we are playing.”
Sissonville coach Niki Gross is equally as happy with how her Indians are playing early in the season, including the Indians’ win over Cardinal Conference and sectional foe Poca.
“This is a good win for us and we have started out the season really well,” Gross said. “It feels good, especially being a sectional opponent, and a team that is doing well in the Cardinal Conference.”
Gross pointed to the mercy-rule victory over the defending state champion Bison last Friday as a huge accomplishment for her Indians.
“That was huge,” Gross said. “We faced two great pitchers. They put in both girls and we had 12 hits in that game. I am pleased with the girls.”
Sissonville continued with its hot bats against the Dots on Monday evening, earning 10 hits with four different players having two hits each.
The top three hitters in the Indians lineup — Karli Pinkerton, Katelyn Linville, and Haynes — each had two hits. Ninth batter Andrea Harmon also had a pair of hits, giving Gross great balance.
“It is nice to have her (Harmon) in that position and she is getting the job done,” Gross said. “She has showed me in practice and has proven she needs to be there. She is getting the job done.
“I can do with any of the girls on this team. I have confidence in all of the players. We work on hitting a lot and I’m super proud of the girls.”
Harmon is happy to be contributing to the well-balanced Sissonville attack.
“It feels really good,” Harmon said. “I just focus on hitting the ball and have really been working hard in the offseason. We really turned on our bats tonight. It is really fun getting mercy rules.”
Haynes, the leading hitter for the Indians, is pleased with the great lineup, especially being on the mound as Sissonville’s top pitcher as well.
“Our one through nine batters can all hit and hit good,” Haynes said. “It makes you really comfortable, especially as a pitcher to know you can go out there with nine runs.”
Despite the lopsided loss to Sissonville, Poca coach David Skeens has a young squad full of freshmen, and knows they have their good and bad moments this season.
Skeens is hoping his Dots (3-3) can put the loss behind them, and remember the positives of beating a good Hoover team.
“Up to this point, we have been playing pretty well,” Skeens said. “We start six freshmen and today we didn’t play very good. We are going to be up and down. We will get better.
“The Hoover win was big,” he continued. “We are young and they are a good team and (Allison) Rager is a good pitcher. We showed we could do it and they just have to build on that. It helps with their confidence.”