Milestone victory

BUCKHANNON – West Virginia Wesleyan softball coach Steve Warner became the 18th NCAA Division II coach to reach 800 career wins with a 9-0 victory over Bluefield State in the first game of a West Virginia Conference doubleheader on Wednesday.

The Lady Bobcats also took the nightcap, 10-2.

In game one, Paige Cummings drove in the first run of the day with an RBI single in the first.

A Bluefield State error allowed the Lady Bobcats’ second run to score, while a fielder’s choice by Alex Furr made the score 3-0 after two innings.

Kaitlyn Carey drove home two in the fourth, while Cummings, Megan Malenstyn, Rebekah Honce and Rachel Ramsey each drove in one to make it 9-0 and secure the historic victory for Warner, who has dominated the WVIAC with 17 conference regular-season titles in 20 seasons.

He has posted 40 or more wins 10 times, including the current five-year string of 40-win campaigns.

Warner has coached 68 first team All-WVIAC selections, 11 Player of the Year award recipients, 15 Pitchers of the Year and has been voted the league’s Coach of the Year on 15 occasions.

“I feel this is a well-deserved honor for a hardworking, dedicated and caring coach,” former player and Wesleyan Hall of Famer Adrienne Mertz Stoner said. “Coach Warner has always lived up to his nickname of Big Daddy because he is not only concerned with success on the field, but helping to build young ladies into successful women.”

Carey earned the win, tossing a complete game one-hit shutout that included three strikeouts.

In game two, Carey drove in the first run, and a passed ball scored a second to put Wesleyan on top 2-0 after one inning. Malenstyn plated a run with a triple in the third and later scored on a double by Emily Bennett. The Blues notched an RBI single in the fourth to get within 4-1.

Cummings drove in a pair of runs in the bottom of the inning with a triple and scored on a sacrifice fly by Malenstyn.

A passed ball in the fifth led to Bluefield’s second run before Cummings connected on a three-run bomb to set the mercy rule into effect at 10-2.

Jessica Griffin picked up the win, allowing two runs (one earned) on four hits, while striking out nine.