CHARLES TOWN — There was a lot of disappointment last year when Washington’s softball season, as was the case everywhere, was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Patriots were favored to win a fourth straight Class AAA, Region II Section II championships, as well as the regional crown itself, but it didn’t happen.
“I really felt for the seniors,” Washington softball Amanda Orkoskey said.
So when this year’s team hosted Jefferson for the Class AAA, Region II, Section II championship on Saturday, the Patriots didn’t hold anything back.
Behind Maddy Ruffner’s three-hit, 11 strikeout performance, Washington picked up right where it left off two years ago, blanking the Cougars, 13-0, in an abbreviated game (mercy rule), to win the sectional title for the fourth straight time.
“After no softball last year, this was pretty awesome,” Washington catcher Cam Noland said. “It really feels good to be playing again.”
The Patriots 23-3, now move on to the best-of-3, Region II championship series against the Section I champion, coming from a pool of teams including Martinsburg, Spring Mills, Hedgesville and Musselman. Washington will host that game at 5 p.m. The winner of that series heads to the state tournament in Charleston next week.
Washington, which was the top seed in the section, defeated Jefferson (14-12) in a close game on Thursday, 2-0. The Cougars then earned a re-match with the Patriots on Friday, ousting Hampshire, 13-0 (five innings).
Washington took nothing for granted in Saturday’s title game. The Patriots put up three runs on the scoreboard in the bottom of the first inning, then batted around in the second (11 batters) for seven runs. Washington tacked on a single run in the third, all but clinched the early victory with a pair of runs in the fourth.
The Patriots’ high scoring second featured six hits, including triples from Courtney Greenfield, Noland and Meaghan Ruffner. All but one Washington player in the starting lineup had at least one hit.
Brittany Cenate led the Patriots with three hits and a pair of RBIs. Greenfield, Noland and Ally Dodson each had a pair of hits. Cenate had three RBIs. Greenfield, Noland and Dodson all had two.
Anna Sedlock had an RBI triple in the second for Washington.
With her teammates giving her all the backing she needed, Maddy Ruffner was in her groove in the pitcher’s circle. Her mix of screwballs and risers kept Jefferson off-balance all day.
“This is pretty exciting stuff,” Maddy Ruffner said of finally winning that fourth straight sectional championship.
Meaghan Ruffner used to play first base, but has been relocated to the center field spot. She said she’s been working on adjusting on her new position through her experience playing travel softball.
Lacie Lewis had a pair of singles for Jefferson. Kendall Guy also had a single, but it wasn’t enough to push any runs across the plate.
Jefferson coach Des Miller said while the Cougars had a good team this year, the lack of consistent hitting and the ability to score timely runs has been an issue.
“That’s something we will have to work on in the future,” she said.