CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Class A Sherman heads into Thursday’s regional semifinal with powerhouse pitcher Kylie Wells leading the Tide to what could be program’s first regional-semifinal win after contending for three years.
Sherman (18-12) has managed to pass through sectionals the last three years, but has yet to make it past the regional semifinals. Wells thinks this could be the year to surpass Man (14-11), which the Tide plays in Seth.
“We faced Man twice this season and won, but it wasn’t easy,” Wells said. “We took them into extra innings both games only winning by a few.”
Sherman took an 8-6 victory in the first game and won a another nailbiter, 9-8, over Man in an extra-inning game.
“It comes down to every pitch,” Wells said. “It puts more pressure on me as a pitcher because everyone looks for me to lead the game, and to bring a positive attitude to bring the team up.”
Sherman coach Jim Henderson also has high expectations of Wells because of her previous success and stamina to withstand a difficult schedule.
“Kylie isn’t a vocal person on the field, but she leads with her performance,” Henderson said. “She doesn’t have speed, she won’t come out and pitch 60 miles per hour, but she has movement. She will hit her spots and do her job offensively to set the team’s pace.”
Wells is a one of the Tide’s team leaders, but she copes with a physical issue that can surface and potentially hold her back.
At two years old, Wells was admitted to a hospital because of a bleeding vessel that went from her heart to her lungs, for which she needed heart surgery. She has a large scar on her back from the surgery, and some effects can, and have, stopped Wells in her tracks.
A year after surgery, Wells was diagnosed with postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome — or POTs syndrome — which can lead to aches, pains, lightheadedness or fainting.
“I can recognize my symptoms and sometimes stop the fainting from happening, but I always feel the pain in my stomach and get severely hot,” Wells said.
While facing Logan in the beginning of the season, Wells felt ill before the game, but decided to try and overcome the symptoms.
“I wanted to play and figured I could push through it, so I started on the mound,” she said. “I lasted until the third inning and I knew I couldn’t go anymore. I went to the dugout and had to lay down for the rest of the game and then I missed three more games after that.”
Wells heads into regionals with a 12-8 record, including six shutout performances. She has 99 strikeouts this season.
“It’s not the ideal record, but we have a hard schedule,” Henderson said of Wells. “We didn’t leave any room for cushioning this year, but she has managed well.”