Clay-Battelle headed to first state tournament with 6-5 win over Moorefield

BLACKSVILLE — Camren Watson never expected to be the one to drive in the game-winning run to help the Clay-Battelle softball team advance to the first state tournament in program history.
The sophomore didn’t play much as a freshman and didn’t start for the Cee-Bees to start this season, and according to coach Butch Varner, it was because of Watson’s bat.
“She took that to heart and she worked on it all year, all winter, and came into this season improving and improving and improving,” Varner said. “It’s a kid like Camren Watson that’s the reason it’s fun to coach this game.”
Watson’s RBI single against Moorefield in the fifth inning Friday gave Clay-Battelle a lead it wouldn’t relinquish in a 6-5 win during Game 3 of the Class A Region II championship series. The Cee-Bees (25-2) will make their trip to Vienna for the state tournament and will face Greenbrier West on Wednesday in the semifinals.
“I’ve never been this happy in my life,” Watson said. “As a freshman, you have to wait your turn, and today was my turn, it was just a good feeling.”
But like all season, the Cee-Bees rode the back of pitcher Caitlyn Kassay (17-2). She pitched every inning of the series with ups and downs, the lowest being in a 10-2 loss at Moorefield on Thursday.
“Caitlyn doesn’t like to lose, so after the game yesterday, I was asked if she would be able to go again,” Varner said. “I said there’s a reason she’s three-time all-state pitcher because I knew she would respond.”
Kassay responded with 13 strikeouts and allowed just one earned run, an inside-the-park home run by Rebekah Markwood with two outs in the seventh inning. Following a strikeout to end the game, Kassay said she blacked out from excitement as her teammates mobbed her in the circle.
“I was like, ‘Wow, we really done did it,” she said with a smile. “This is huge for us, especially for the naysayers. We have a lot of people who don’t think people from Clay-Battelle are capable of doing something like this. We just knocked off a good team and I think that’s a statement.”
The Cee-Bees jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning, a stark difference between Thursday’s loss when Moorefield jumped out to a 4-0 lead. The first run was driven by Sydney Wilson on a groundout, followed by a sacrifice fly by Alicia Keener.
The Yellow Jackets tied it at 2-2 in the third inning when two runs scored on an error. Wilson drove in another run in the bottom half of the frame, and then Kassay scored C-B’s fourth run on an error.
Moorefield battled back again, scoring two runs in the fifth inning on a throwing error to tie the score at 4-4 before the Cee-Bees took the lead for good in the bottom of the 5th.
Fans were littered beyond the fence and on the hill overlooking the field, and it meant a lot to the team to have the support of the community.
“It means a lot to me — I came from this community,” a teary-eyed Varner said. “It means a lot to see the people of this community support these young ladies, and hopefully that’ll continue in Vienna.”

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