ONA — Zoe Dunlap slammed the door on the Class AAA Region 4 Section 2 softball tournament.
The Hurricane High School senior catcher bashed a no-doubt-about-it grand slam to left-center field to lift the Redskins to a 10-2 victory over Cabell Midland in six innings Monday at Paul Adams Field.
“It was right where I like it,” Dunlap said of the pitch she launched out of the park to score Caiti Mathes and Alivia Meeks ahead of her during a five-run fourth inning.
Third-seeded Hurricane (28-5) entered the game, suspended because of weather since since Thursday, with a 3-1 lead and the top-seeded Knights (24-11) coming to bat in the bottom of the third inning. Three innings later, the Redskins clinched a spot in the Region 4 tournament next week against Monday’s Section 3 winner Parkersburg, which came back to beat Ripley 9-8 for the title.
“We were super anticipating this,” Dunlap said of the four-day wait to win the championship. “It killed us to wait this long, but it was a good win.”
Hurricane coach Meghan Stevens said she was happy with how her team responded in winning its 10th consecutive game.
“I’m really, really pleased with the focus our girls had in practice,” Stevens said. “They understood we had a job to do and came and did it.”
The Redskins increased their lead to 4-1 when Taylor McCray walked with the bases loaded to score Reagan Schultz. Dunlap followed with her grand slam to make it 8-1.
The Knights didn’t quit. In the bottom of the fifth, Maddie Meadows tripled and Kirya Kingery singled her home to make it 8-2. Hurricane pitcher Harlie Vannatter said she knew the Knights wouldn’t give up, despite the large deficit.
“They beat us early in the season,” Vannatter said, remembering the 14-3 loss to Cabell Midland on March 16. “They beat us good, too. They’re a good team.”
Hurricane set the score in the sixth when Rachel Lyon singled in McCray and Dunlap to make a winner of Vannatter in the final game of the double-elimination tournament.
“Everything was working,” Vannatter said of her pitches. “(The home plate umpire) was calling the outside corner and I worked there. We really wanted to win this game and end it tonight. We didn’t want to have to play them another game.”
Vannatter allowed seven hits, struck out seven and walked none.
Dunlap finished 2 for 3 with four runs batted in. Lindsey Phares went 3 for 4 and drove in one. Lyon had two RBI.
For Cabell Midland, Kingery was 2 for 3 with a RBI. Sydney Chapman went 2 for 3.