Hurricane softball is still a team to be reckoned with

April 8, 2019

Whispers suggested this was the year someone would knock off Hurricane’s softball team.

The four-time defending Class AAA state champion lost three in a row early in the season and all three teams that beat the Redskins — Cabell Midland, George Washington and St. Albans — are considered state title contenders. Since then, the Redskins have hushed the whispers, winning 16 in a row, including the championship of Cabell Midland’s Sluggerfest. Hurricane avenged a loss to the Midland Knights and the powerful rivals meet again at 5:30

“That was our message that a lot of people were looking at us like we were beat up and we weren’t the Hurricane we used to be,” Redskins coach Meghan Stevens said after a recent victory. “We said we were going to go there and show everybody that we’re still the Hurricane that needs to be looked at and feared. We can hit the ball one through nine (in the batting order) still and Harlie (Vanatter) is still Harlie.”

Vannatter, a junior committed to Bowling Green State University, struggled early and Stevens indicated the young pitcher’s confidence suffered. That’s no longer the case. Vannatter was stellar last week in a 4-0 victory over a strong Spring Valley team full of hitters. Vannatter struck out 16, including 12 in a row.

Can Hurricane be beaten? Absolutely, but any team that does so is going to have to earn it.

LEGENDARY HORNET DIES: Former Coal Grove football star Jerry Fields died last week.

One of the better players in the illustrious history of Coal Grove football, Fields played quarterback at Ohio State University in 1956 and was a member of the Buckeyes’ 1967 national championship team.

RECRUITING ROUNDUP: Huntington High School linebacker Brocton Blair visited Marshall University on Thursday. Blair, Cabell Midland running back Ivan Vaughn and defensive back J.J. Roberts, and Spring Valley quarterback/wide receiver Nate Ellis visited Eastern Kentucky University last week. Roberts also picked up offers from Wake Forest University and Eastern Michigan University. ... Bluefield defensive end Sean Martin was offered by Penn State University. ... Spring Valley’s Jordann Hatten signed to run track at Kentucky Christian University. ...

Spring Valley baseball pitcher Seth Damron received an offer from Wheeling Jesuit University. ... Ironton linebacker Reid Carrico visited Ohio State University on Wednesday and received an offer from the University of Wisconsin on Saturday.

... Fairland quarterback Joel Lambiotte visited Marshall University on Tuesday. ... Chesapeake softball pitcher Jordan Storms signed with Glenville State University. ... Meigs offensive linemen Claytin Neutzing signed to play football at Walsh University. ... Eastern-Meigs golfer Kylee Tolliver signed with Wheeling Jesuit University. ... Coal Grove basketball player Jaylen McKenzie signed with Kentucky Christian University.

NOTES, QUOTES, ANECDOTES: Former Spring Valley High School girls basketball standout Sarah Kelly averaged 2.3 points and 2.5 rebounds per game this season to help Nova Southeastern University to the NCAA

Division II Southeast Region championship and a spot in the Elite Eight. ... Huntington High wrestler Zane Lanham was named as a high school All-American. ... Former Spring Valley baseball star Zach Harvey was named as the River States Conference Pitcher of the Week for the second consecutive time. The University of Rio Grande senior struck out 10 in the RedStorm’s 5-2 victory over Midway.

Rock Hill’s Kylee Howard pitched a perfect game last week in a 13-0 victory over Symmes Valley. ... Wheelersburg’s Tanner Holden and Oak Hill’s Mason Darby were selected to play in the Ohio-Kentucky All-Star basketball game. ... Fairland’s girls track team won the Chesapeake Lions Club Invitational. The Dragons’ Allie Marshall earned high-point honors. ... Sissonville defeated Herbert Hoover 9-8 Friday in softball, breaking the Huskies’ 46-game winning streak. ... Ironton’s middle school boys track team won the Fairland Invitational and Coal Grove Invitational. ... Coal Grove opened its new softball field Saturday with a victory over Portsmouth West.