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Class AA: Oak Glen, Sissonville win openers in state tournament

SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The way Oak Glen’s Maddie McKay was pitching against Independence, the Golden Bears didn’t need to provide her with much run support Tuesday in the Class AA state tournament opener at Little Creek Park.

Still, after going on top with a third-inning run, Oak Glen scratched across two more in the fifth and added a pair in the seventh for good measure to pull away for a 5-0 victory over the Patriots.

“Our girls see a lot of pitches throughout the year, so we try to encourage them to be patient, look at the pitches,” Garner said. “You’re going to come back around. The nature of the game is you get another chance. They were patient and got some extra-base hits and scored some runs. One run is not enough, so it’s good we came back after getting one and got some more runs.”

The victory moves Oak Glen (29-1) into the winner’s bracket, where the Golden Bears will face Sissonville later Tuesday. Independence (22-15) meets Herbert Hoover in an elimination game later Tuesday.

McKay held the Patriots without a hit until Sarah Bragg’s seventh-inning single, which was followed by a double play that sealed the victory for the Golden Bears.

“She moves the ball well and puts it around the plate,” Garner said. “She changes speeds and catches them off-guard and can put them off balance. She had all of her tricks in line today for sure.”

Oak Glen struck first in the top of the third after Sydney Brown led off with a triple and scored on a squeeze bunt by Grace Smith.

Still clinging to the one-run lead in the fifth, OGHS took advantage of a pair of walks and got a two-out, two-run double from Sarah Brown to up its lead to 3-0.

McKay helped her cause with an RBI double in the seventh, before the Golden Bears capped the scoring on a Brown bunt that brought home Lizzie Kell.

McKay struck out nine over seven strong innings.

Brown scored three of the game’s five runs and reached base in all four plate appearances — drawing two base-on-balls and being hit by a pitch in addition to her triple.

“She is fantastic. She’s very disciplined and plays a lot of ball throughout the year,” Garner said of Brown. “They had the investment to play hard today and come here and back each other up.”

Despite suffering the loss, the Patriots’ Delaney Buckland held the Golden Bears to five hits and struck out four over seven solid innings.

SISSONVILLE 7, Herbert Hoover 3: Ahead of Tuesday’s matchup with three-time defending Class AA champion Herbert Hoover in the state tournament, Sissonville coach Travis Hill figured a tight contest was in store. After all, the Indians had beaten the Huskies in two regular season meetings by a combined score of 5-3.

Fortunately for Hill, Madison Long and Autumn Bailey each hit a home run and the Indians had the better defensive showing to put Hoover (24-4) on the brink of elimination. Sissonville (20-4) advances to face Oak Glen in the winner’s bracket, while the Huskies will need to defeat Independence to prolong their season.

Long’s home run to centerfield came in the top of the fifth inning and upped Sissonville’s lead to 3-1. With a 4-1 advantage in the seventh, Bailey belted a two-run shot to left.

“Early on, we couldn’t get our bats going together at the same time to get back-to-back hits it seemed like,” Hill said. “But then it started coming on. Madison Legg with a long ball to center and then Autumn went yard. That’s just a plus. We don’t practice that. We practice barrel up the ball and if you barrel up the ball, things happen.”

Sissonville’s Alyssa Soblit swings against Herbert Hoover. Photo by Eddie Ferrari

Four hits, including Bailey’s RBI single, enabled the Indians to take a 1-0 lead in the first. But the Huskies responded immediately and drew even on Sydney Bright’s run-scoring single in the home half of the inning.

The 1-1 tie stood until the fourth, when SHS went on top for good with a Emma Meade double that brought home Taylor Oxley.

After Legg’s long ball doubled the Sissonville lead, the Indians added another run in the sixth by capitalizing on three Huskies’ errors, the last of which allowed Oxley to score.

“Playing against Hoover, I always tell them whoever makes the least amount of errors is probably going to come out the winner,” Hill said. “We’re so evenly matched on paper.”

Cortney Fizer led off the sixth with a double for Hoover and scored on Grayson Buckner’s groundout to second to cut the deficit to 4-2.

After Bailey’s two-run shot, Meade drove in the seventh and final Sissonville run on a single to center.

Hoover generated one final rally in the seventh, first benefiting from an error and then scoring its third run on Brooklyn Huffman’s RBI single.

After a Caroline Woody single put the tying run on deck, Meade robbed Bright of a hit with a diving catch for the first out.

“She smoked that ball,” Hill said. “I don’t know that you can hit it harder, but Emma had great reaction time and made a great play right there.”

Legg retired the next two batters to seal the victory. She struck out six and allowed 11 hits over seven innings to pick up the win.

Buckner took the loss after allowing seven runs — four of which were earned — and 11 hits in seven innings. She struck out three in defeat.

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Class AAA: St. Albans, Cabell Midland victorious after holding opposition scoreless

SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. — St. Albans coach Christian Watts could hardly sleep Monday in advance of his team’s Class AAA state tournament opener against John Marshall.

When Watts awoke Tuesday, he discovered the contest would be delayed an hour in an effort to improve field conditions at Little Creek Park.

Fortunately for Watts, the delay did nothing to slow down the Red Dragons, who used a stellar pitching performance from Tayven Stephenson to work their way past the Monarchs 3-0.

“You don’t sleep the night before so when I got the call this morning, I was like ‘ugh.’ But they came out and they were the same people they’ve been all year,” Watts said. “They really came out with a lot of energy.”

The victory allows St. Albans (31-1) to play in the winner’s bracket later Tuesday against Cabell Midland, while the Monarchs (21-6-3) take on Washington in an elimination game.

The Red Dragons loaded the bases with no outs in the first inning, although confusion on the basepaths nearly led to them running into their first out. Still, JMHS had a chance to escape the jam when pitcher Kadence Pettit recorded two outs without surrendering a run, but St. Albans’ Taylor Glancy followed with a two-run single that gave her team the early advantage.

“The big thing for us was scoring first. If they’d have gotten out of that inning without us scoring a run, that would’ve been a big momentum swing,” Watts said.

The early offense also ensured Stephenson pitched with a lead from the second inning on.

“It gives you confidence. You can trust your defense and trust your pitches and you don’t have to think you need to strike them out,” Stephenson said.

The score stayed 2-0 until the fifth inning, when Stephenson helped her cause with a run-scoring triple to provide insurance.

Stephenson overcame a blister on her pitching hand that surfaced in the sixth inning to keep the Monarchs scoreless, with the University of Kentucky commit holding JMHS to one hit in the complete game victory.

“We actually were excited for the delay,” Stephenson said. “I didn’t go back to sleep but we got to get out of the drowsiness of playing in the morning. This was a great atmosphere and we had so many fans here. It was nice that we’re close and all of them could come.”

CABELL MIDLAND 1, Washington 0: Olivia Pelfrey brought home Hailey Roe with a second-inning double and Knights’ pitcher Jess Terry took care of the rest to help Cabell Midland move into a winner’s bracket game later Tuesday against St. Albans.

Cabell Midland’s Jess Terry struck out 16 to lead the Knights over Washington, 1-0. Photo by Eddie Ferrari

“Both pitchers did an excellent job,” Cabell Midland coach Herman Beckett said. “I can’t say enough about either one of them. We got that one run and we’ve been relying on Jess all year. She made it stand up today against a very good team. There wasn’t that much difference between us and them and the two pitchers shut both sides bats down.”

Terry struck out 16 in a dominant complete game, including three straight in the seventh inning after the Patriots’ Carly Crowder had led off with a single to put the tying run on base.

After no strikeouts in the first inning, all 12 outs Terry recorded from the second through fifth innings came on strikeouts.

“The change-up was magnificent,” Beckett said. “The ump was giving both pitchers the benefit of the doubt and it was a good game.”

The Knights improved to 28-9 with the victory.

Washington (25-4) got a dominant pitching performance from Maddy Rufner, who struck out 12 in the tough-luck loss.

“I don’t think anybody can beat anybody 9-0 up here,” Beckett said. “This year, everybody has a real good pitcher on their staff and they just sawed each others’ bats off.”

The Patriots will face John Marshall later Tuesday in an elimination game. Both Washington and John Marshall failed to score in their state tournament openers.

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Brennan discusses U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ vote to move forward with Communion guidelines

WHEELING, W.Va. — Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston Bishop Mark Brennan says the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops voting to move forward drafting “a formal statement on the meaning of the Eucharist in the life of the Church,” is not targeted at any Catholic politician who supports abortion rights including President Joe Biden.

Appearing on MetroNews ‘Talkline’ on Tuesday, Brennan said Catholics have the responsibility to live up to their faith and the practice of Eucharist consistency. He said some people have lost faith in the sense of Christ being present in the Eucharist.

Mark Brennan

Brennan said a Catholic can go every day to mass and receive Communion but receive no benefit if that person doesn’t believe what Jesus said about it being his body and blood. The statement is meant to create guidelines on the meaning of Communion, something he supports.

“The great majority of the bishops do not see this as a way to pummel Catholic politicians. Those Catholic politicians, in the court of what St. Paul says, need to examine themselves before they receive the body and blood of the Lord, less they eat and drink in judgment against themselves,” Brennan said.

The bishops voted 168-55 in favor of drafting a statement last week during the final day of their annual three-day meeting which was all virtual. The bishops’ Committee on Doctrine will draft the guidelines that could limit Catholic politicians who support abortion rights to receive communion.

Brennan voted in favor but said he would oppose a document that would name individual politicians for a particular class that should be denied communion.

He said it’s about getting back to the essence of what it means to be a Catholic.

“Normal Catholic teaching is you don’t go to holy communion if your conscience of serious or mortal sin. You first repent of it and then you go to the sacrament of penance or confession and then you’re free to go forward again to receive the Eucharist,” Brennan said.

Mark Brennan, Bishop of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, joins @HoppyKercheval to discuss Holy Communion for President Biden. WATCH:

— MetroNews (@WVMetroNews) June 22, 2021

Brennan said the bishops will meet again in November and hopefully move forward with a document that will form a ‘Eucharist revival plan’ for 2022. Approval of a final document would need the support of two-thirds of bishops, the Washington Post reported.

“To revive the faith of our people in the true presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Because without that faith, they receive no benefit from the Eucharist,” he said.

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Morgan Christian’s HR in the 7th keeps Wahama unbeaten, 6-5 over Petersburg

SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Morgan Christian’s three-run home run with two outs in the top of the seventh capped a four-run inning for Wahama, as the White Falcons downed Petersburg 6-5 in the second Class A matchup on day one of the state tournament.

Wahama rallied from a pair of late deficits to stay unbeaten at 25-0. Trailing 2-0 in the sixth, Deborah Miller’s two-run single evened the score at 2-2. Petersburg quickly retook the lead in the bottom of the inning when starting pitcher Kymberly Minnich drove Braylee Corbin home with an RBI single.

The White Falcons evened the score just three batters into the seventh when Amber Wolfe sent Mikie Lieving home with an RBI single, setting the stage for Christian’s heroics.

Petersburg rallied back in the seventh. An RBI single from Mackenzie Kitzmiller and a sacrifice fly from Cobrin drew the Vikings within a run at 6-5. Petersburg loaded the bases with two out before Lieving induced a grounder to second to end the game.

Maddison Champ and Jenna Burgess each had multi-hit games for the Vikings (21-6). They will face Midland Trail in an elimination game at 5:30.

Lieving and Tori VanMeter each went 2-for 4 for Wahama and Christian led the way with three hits. Wahama will face Ritchie County in the winners bracket final tonight.

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Interim police chief named in Huntington

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Police Capt. Eric Corder has been named interim police chief.

Newly named interim chief Eric Corder (Photo/HPD)

Corder, who has been with the department for 24 years, will take the job on July 2 with the retirement of current Chief Ray Cornwell.

Mayor Steve Williams announced the appointment Tuesday.

“I am pleased that Capt. Corder has agreed to step in and lead the Police Department during this transition period,” Williams said in a news release. “His leadership as captain of the Patrol Bureau since April 2020 gives me confidence that our Police Department will be in good hands while I take the necessary steps to fill this important position.”

Williams said choosing the interim chief is the first step in the four-step process of naming a permanent chief. He said he’ll next choose a selection process, followed by candidate interviews before making a nomination to Huntington City Council.

Cornwell announced his retirement last week.

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Charges filed in Huntington shooting death

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Murder charges have been filed in connection with a shooting death.

Huntington police charged Delron Thacker, 19, of Huntington, with murder Tuesday following the death of Wendell Keith II, 47, of Huntington.

The shooting took place Monday afternoon in the 800 block of 12th Street.

Investigators said the shooting was the result of an argument. They said Thacker and Keith knew one another.

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WorkForce notifies clients of potential data breach

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — WorkForce West Virginia has notified a number of state residents in the past week of a potential data breach involving some of their personal information.

WorkForce said that on April 13 it learned that “an unauthorized individual” accessed the Mid Atlantic Career Consortium Employment Services database and potentially could have taken personal information of some who have been in the WorkForce system.

The agency said the breach may have created access of name, address, phone number, date of birth and Social Security number.

In a letter sent last week, WorkForce said it wanted to notify residents just in case and offer a complimentary one-year membership to Kroll’s Identity Monitoring services, which includes Credit Monitoring and Identity Theft Restoration.

Bridgeport resident Don Horne received one of the letters from WorkForce. He double-checked with the agency to make sure it was legitimate.

“I’ve had this happen with credit cards before. I’ve received a one-year credit monitoring from them. When I logged into the (Kroll’s) screen they started asking for Social Security numbers and all of that and that’s when I started getting leery and all,” Horne said.

Horne, who is retired now and was last in the WorkForce system in 2014, confirmed everything with WorkForce Tuesday. WorkForce also confirmed the situation with MetroNews.

WorkForce said it took immediate steps to secure its network when it first found out about the possible breach. It used forensic resources during the investigation.

Mitigating any potential risk for constituents continues to be our top priority,” said Scott Adkins, acting commissioner of WorkForce West Virginia. “Constituents should follow the guidance provided in the letter they received from WorkForce if they have any questions.”

Gov. Jim Justice said Adkins would be part of Thursday’s coronavirus media briefing.

There was no initial word on how many people WorkForce notified.

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Justice says some West Virginians are entering ‘death lottery’ by deciding not to be vaccinated against COVID-19

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Gov. Jim Justice said Tuesday there are no plans to discontinue the COVID-19 vaccination sweepstakes even with the leveling off of vaccination numbers in the Mountain State.

Gov. Jim Justice

During his media briefing Tuesday at the state capitol, Justice said the incentives were still worth the effort even though the state has recorded less than 5,300 vaccinations during the past week.

“We gotta continue to try. There’s no reason whatsoever, whatsoever to call off what we’ve got out there and what we’re doing,” Justice said. “State after state after state is doing exactly the same thing or even more that what we’re doing.”

The next round of winners will be announced June 30. The sweepstakes that include cash and prizes continue through the first week of August. West Virginia is using federal pandemic relief money to fund the prizes than include the giveaway of $1 million a week, new trucks, hunting rifles and shotguns, lifetime hunting and fishing licenses, college scholarships and state park vacations.

New vaccination numbers from the Centers for Disease Control show approximately 52% of the state’s eligible population have been fully vaccinated. The numbers include 70% of those over the age of 50 who have been fully vaccinated. Those numbers drop down significantly for those under the age of 50.

Justice said those who haven’t been vaccinated are taking a deadly chance.

“It’s the death lottery,” Justice said.

He said some residents aren’t taking the risk seriously.

“If a bunch of, bunch of, bunch of folks that hadn’t had their vaccines started dying, a bunch of them, you’d see a real response. We wouldn’t need to be giving away lifetime hunting and fishing license and trucks–you’d see people running to get the vaccine,” Justice said.

James Hoyer

State InterAgency Task Force Director Jim Hoyer also urged more younger residents Tuesday to agree to be vaccinated.

“You want to be in the right lottery West Virginia,” Hoyer said. “You don’t want to be in the one that puts you in the hospital, the one that potentially causes you to lose your life. You want to go out and be vaccinated if you haven’t been vaccinated.”

Hoyer said there’s a “lot of work to do” when it comes to vaccinating those between the ages of 18-29 and 29-50.

Hoyer did announce Tuesday COVID-19 hospitalizations have dropped below 100 patients for the first time in nearly a year.

“This is the first time since July 23, 2020 that we’ve been below a hundred,” Hoyer said.

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‘This is major flooding’; Cameron hit hard by flash flooding overnight

CAMERON, W.Va. — Marshall County Delegate Lisa Zukoff says the damage left behind by flash flooding Monday night into Tuesday in the town of Cameron is the worst seen in decades.

Speaking to MetroNews on her way to Cameron Tuesday morning, Zukoff said the area received several inches of rain in a short period beginning at 6 p.m. Monday and it was too much for the creeks and streams.

Over 200 customers in the Cameron area remain without power, including Zukoff’s residence, as of 3 p.m. according to Appalachian Power. Power outages were caused by mudslides taking out electric poles. Nearly 1,500 customers in all of Marshall County are without power as of Tuesday afternoon.

“We’ve had some pretty nasty storms here but this is major flooding. This is something we’ve not seen in Cameron probably in my lifetime,” she said.

Lisa Zukoff

“I’m not trying to be dramatic but it is nasty.”

Zukoff said according to Cameron Mayor Greg Galentine, the flash flooding ‘heavily damaged’ around 25 homes in low-lying areas in town. No injuries have been reported, according to Tom Hart, the longtime director of the Marshall County Office of Emergency Management.

Hart told MetroNews on Tuesday afternoon that areas of southeast Marshall County measured between two and five inches of rain during the storms.

“There have been several incidents of flooding over the past 20 years but probably the worst flooding they have experienced in my 21 years as director,” he said.

Zukoff and Hart both confirmed the first floor of Cameron Elementary School, which sits right along Upper Grave Creek, received water. The pair also reported the new turf football field for Cameron High School, which sits along North Fork Creek, was underwater overnight but the water has receded.

Damage assessment is occurring on Tuesday afternoon by emergency officials with the Marshall County, WV VOAD, city officials, and state representatives. Hart said other parts of the county received water but nothing like what the Cameron area experienced.

The DOH is also in Cameron working to clear roads that are damaged due to water and various road slips. Zukoff said as of noon on Tuesday, Green Valley Road is closed. She said there are several other roads in Cameron closed.

Cameron officials and the Marshall County Commission have both declared a state of emergency for the city of just under 1,000 residents, and surrounding portions of the county. Zukoff hopes the state declares an emergency by Tuesday evening. Zukoff has been in touch with Gov. Jim Justice’s office to get the National Guard there. The American Red Cross is also assisting.

Due to the flooding, the Marshall County Health Department will be providing tetanus vaccinations at the Cameron American Legion Annex Building on Tuesday from 1-4 p.m.

Zukoff said as bad as it is, she knows Cameron and neighboring communities will rally around each other.

“They are like most other West Virginia towns. They all come together and work together to make things happen. There will be people in need, there is no doubt about that,” she said.

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Ritchie County wins state softball opener, 9-1 over Midland Trail

SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Ritchie County pounded out 10 hits in 4 innings at the plate to win the opening game of the Class A state softball tournament over Midland Trail, 9-1 in 5 innings.

Sydney Sheets put the Patriots (20-5) ahead with a solo home run in the first inning. However, the Rebels responded with four runs in the first, one in the third and four more in the fourth to put the run rule in effect.

Olivia Dodd, Jaycee Gray and Lillie Law each had two runs batted in for the Rebels. Marissa Jeffrey also had a multi-hit game.

Chloe Elliott went the distance in the circle for the Rebels. She allowed six hits and struck out nine batters.

Ritchie (22-5) will face the winner of the Petersburg/Wahama game later Tuesday in the Class A winners bracket final. Midland Trail will play an elimination game.

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