Keyser softball wins home opener 11-2 over Pendleton County

Mar. 18—KEYSER, W.Va. — Keyser improved to 2-0 on the season, winning its home opener 11-2 over Pendleton County in five innings on Friday night.

The Golden Tornado (2-0) pulled away in the third inning scoring six runs.

"Couldn't be more proud of them," Keyser head coach Colton Jones said. "We challenged them after our game last night, we had to come out with a lot of energy. This was a good, quality team we played."

The Wildcats (0-1) took the lead in the first inning, but were unable to generate enough offense in the later innings.

"When you get the barrel of the bat and make contact, good things happen," Pendleton County head coach Charlie Padgett said. "We chased some high pitches and they didn't chase a whole lot."

Avery Townsend led off for Pendleton with a walk. She stole second base and took third after a strikeout. Townsend scored from third for the game's opening run in the top of the first inning.

Keyser responded with three runs in its half of the inning. Two runs came home on a Charity Wolfe single to left.

"That was huge," Jones said. "We get that outside pitch and take it to right field. She did a beautiful job. Those were two big runs and it sparked us."

Rylee Mangold started for the Tornado on the mound. She struck out the side in order in the top of the second inning.

"She works all year," Jones said. "She's got location, she's got a fastball, changeup, riseball. She's working very hard, that's what we expect from her."

In the bottom of the second, Averi Everline hit an RBI triple up the middle to extend Keyser's lead to 4-1.

With one out in the top of the third, Townsend hit a solo home run to center field. It was the freshman's first high school home run.

Leading 4-2 heading into the bottom of the third, Keyser pulled away for good scoring six runs. The Tornado batted around with 12 batters coming to the plate in the inning.

"We started taking good quality swings," Jones said. "We let high pitches go, let low pitches go. We were attacking where we wanted to."

After stealing 22 bases in Thursday's game at Hampshire, Keyser added 10 stolen bases on Friday and scored three runs off of the thefts.

"We preach to them every day in practice, we're gonna be super aggressive on the bases," Jones said. "With our speed on the team this year, we're gonna utilize it. Balls in the dirt getting behind the catcher, we gotta be aggressive."

Wolfe and Morgan Pratt each hit RBI singles.

Three of the six runs came off Wildcat errors. Pendleton County finished with seven overall compared to none by Keyser.

"We need to make better decisions playing defense," Padgett said. "We do great in practice sometimes, the good news is it's the first game of the season."

The Tornado added another run in the fourth inning on a fielder's choice.

Mangold went five innings and allowed three hits, two runs and three walks. She struck out 12, all but one were swinging strikeouts.

Everline went 3 for 4 with two RBIs and a double. Mangold went 3 for 3 with an RBI and two doubles.

"That's what we want from her up in the leadoff spot," Jones said of Everline. "She's a senior for us, we expect that from her."

Baylee Beachler pitched for the Wildcats and went five innings. She allowed seven hits, seven earned runs and five walks with three strikeouts.

"We gotta hit our spots better," Padgett said. "Can't give up the free-bee walks."

Townsend went 1 for 2 with a home run, a walk and two stolen bases.

Keyser travels to play Allegany at LaVale Lions Field on Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. Pendleton County is at East Hardy on Wednesday at 5 p.m.

"It's gonna be a tough one for us," Jones said of the Campers. "We're gonna go down there and give it our all and see what happens."

Jordan Kendall is a Sports Writer for the Cumberland Times-News. Follow him on Twitter @JKendallCTN.