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Class A photo gallery: Petersburg, Wahama claim 5-3 victories at state tournament

SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Petersburg held off St. Marys for a 5-3 victory in the opening game of the Class A state tournament. Defending state champion Wahama also earned a 5-3 victory Wednesday, with the White Falcons getting past Midland Trail by that same score.

The results set up an elimination matchup between the Blue Devils (19-9) and Patriots (13-11), while Wahama (27-2) takes on the Vikings (18-2) for the right to be in the driver’s seat ahead of Thursday’s play.

(Photos by Eddie Ferrari)

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Panthers claw back, score 4-3 win over St. Albans in extra innings

SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Tied at 3 with Lincoln County in the Class AAA state tournament opener for both teams, St. Albans elected to intentionally walk the Panthers’ Josie Bird in the top of the eighth inning.

Bird had belted a two-run home run two innings earlier that knotted the affair at Craft Field, and with first base open and two outs, the Red Dragons figured that gave them the best opportunity to keep the game knotted heading to the home half of the eighth.

Instead, Lincoln County cleanup hitter Ryleigh Shull followed with a sharp single up the middle to score Haleigh Adkins, who had reached on a one-out double. It proved to make all the difference as the Panthers hung on for a 4-3 victory that moves them into a winner’s bracket matchup later Wednesday against Jefferson.

“Last time we faced them, Ryleigh hit two home runs herself. That’s the reason we have Josie in the three hole, so we have sticks behind her,” Panthers’ head coach Tommy Barrett said. “Becca Pennington bats well in the five hole as well. We anticipated she was going to be walked there no matter what, but Shull came up with the hit to get the winning run in.”

St. Albans, which never trailed beyond the final score, squandered a prime opportunity to get even in its final at bat. Boom Coffman led off with a ground rule double to right and got to third moments later on a wild pitch. Ava Bentley lifted a fly ball to relatively deep center field, but Coffman never attempted to tag up and instead remained at third following the first out.

“A kid got a bad read on it, but they’re tired and get caught up in the moment,” Red Dragons’ coach Christian Watts said. “That’s on me as a coach. That’s not on a kid. We should’ve scored there, but it didn’t happen.”

Kiersten Lacy was next to the plate and she sent a ground ball to shortstop, which Adkins fired home in time for Fix to apply the tag on Coffman for the second out. Meghan Stump, who relieved Shull in the pitching circle during the second inning, struck out Bailey Gilbert for the final out.

“Young kids, they have the confidence they can hit and they know what their capabilities are, but you have to get them to be settled when there’s pressure and with this crowd and atmosphere,” Barrett said. “It’s huge for them because this is like a state title for us.”

Were it not for Bird’s two-run long ball to left in the sixth following a one-out error that allowed Allison Ramey to reach, the game would’ve never reached extras. The same can be said for Stump’s efforts in the pitching circle.

She took over with the bases loaded and one out in the second inning after the Panthers (24-4) had just fallen behind when Jaden Conrad drew a bases loaded walk. Although Sydney Young immediately worked a walk from Stump that allowed the Dragons (24-6) to lead 2-0, and Gilbert scored on a wild pitch moments later, but that third run proved to be all the offense the Red Dragons could muster.

“She settled in a little bit,” Barrett said of Stump. “We started off a little bit slow, but Stump has done a terrific job for us all of last year and all of this year as well. What we’ve tried to do is start Ryleigh and close with Stump. That’s been our ticket to get here and that’s what’ll continue our success to stay with it.”

Still, St. Albans pitcher Tayven Stephenson kept LCHS from scoring until two outs in the fourth, when Pennington belted a double that brought Ramey home.

Stump allowed a single in both the fourth and fifth innings, but continued to hold the Red Dragons in check until Bird’s two-run blast tied it. Stump worked 6 1/3 scoreless innings with four strikeouts. She allowed three hits and walked two.

Stephenson tossed eight innings and struck out seven, while allowing five hits.

Adkins and Coffman had two hits apiece to lead their respective teams.

St. Albans will look to stave off elimination against John Marshall.

“It’s a tough one to swallow,” Watts said. “We just made it a little bit harder on ourselves to get to where we want to be.”

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Down to final out, Jefferson rallies to beat John Marshall 6-2 in 11 innings

SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Jefferson’s resiliency was on display Wednesday in the opener of the Class AAA state tournament against John Marshall at Craft Field.

Down to their final out, the Cougars got a run-scoring single from Lacie Lewis to tie the game at 1, before continuing to ride a dominant pitching performance from Rebecca Munslow that prevented the Monarchs from scoring for nine straight innings. Jefferson then capitalized on several John Marshall miscues in the 11th, which along with four Cougar hits that inning enabled them to score five runs and claim a 6-2 victory.

“We played multiple extra-innings games between the regular season and sectionals, so they’re used to it,” Jefferson coach Desire’ Waters said. “It is hot out now, but they’re getting used to that. We strung them together right when we needed to. We wanted to string them together earlier, but that’s OK. They did a good job staying tough and they are very resilient.”

Jefferson (28-5) will face Lincoln County, while JMHS (21-9) will look to avoid elimination later Wednesday against St. Albans.

“It’s huge to win your first game to keep out of the loser’s bracket from the get go,” Waters said.

Kadence Pettit was one out from recording a complete game shutout, but Lewis delivered a sharp single to center field, allowing courtesy runner Kendall Guy to score the tying run from third base. Guy had come on to run for Munslow, who led off with a single and advanced to third on that play courtesy of the game’s first error.

Pettit retired the next two batters without allowing the tying run, but Lewis’ knock prolonged the game.

The Cougars got the go-ahead run to third with one out in the eighth, but Pettit buckled down and got consecutive ground ball outs to keep it tied at 1.

John Marshall had two on with one out in the eighth, but Munslow escaped trouble to send the game to the ninth.

Although JHS couldn’t muster any offense in the ninth or 10th innings, Munslow prevented the Monarchs from generating a baserunner in both frames.

The Cougars then capitalized on consecutive errors to start the 11th that allowed Christina Franco and Munslow to reach. Brooke Allen followed by sending a ground ball to third that was first misplayed and then thrown away, allowing Franco to score for a 2-1 Jefferson lead.

Chloe Cowan’s infield single brought Munslow home for a third Jefferson run, while Lewis’ groundout to second enabled Allen to score for a 4-1 lead.

Later in the 11th, Taylor Presley and Kalee Dalton each added an RBI single that left the Cougars with a 6-1 advantage as the game moved to the home half of the inning.

In the bottom of the frame, Adrianna Skrzyneki doubled the Monarchs’ run total with a two-out RBI, single, but that was all the offense the Monarchs could muster.

Over her 11-inning effort, Munslow allowed six hits and walked three, while striking out nine in the victory.

“She has grit and that’s pretty much what drives her,” Waters said of Munslow. “She’s tough and competitive, but most importantly she trusts her teammates.”

Pettit also tossed 11 innings and allowed 12 hits. She struck out 10 and issued three base-on-balls in defeat. Seven of Jefferson’s 12 hits came in extra innings, while all but three came after the sixth.

Sophia Adkins’ solo home run in the first inning marked all the scoring until the seventh. While John Marshall’s Ava Blake followed Adkins’ round-tripper with her first of two doubles, that marked the Monarchs’ final runner in scoring position until the sixth.

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Search for man threatening to shoot, beat and set Fauci on fire leads to W.Va. resort rental cabin

A man who has been living at Snowshoe, Pocahontas County, pleaded guilty this week to making threats against public officials, saying Dr. Anthony Fauci and his family would be “dragged into the street, beaten to death, and set on fire.”

He could face up to 10 years in prison. Sentencing is set for 11:30 a.m. August 4 before U.S. District Judge Paula Xinis of Maryland.

Thomas Patrick Connally, 56, admitted in federal court to making threats against a federal official, specifically for sending emails threatening harm to Fauci, the current director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health, which is located in Maryland.

Fauci has been one of the leading figures in America’s response to covid-19, advocating for precautions such as widespread vaccination. He has been subject of intense criticism from the right wing.

Connally is accused of using an encrypted email service to send threats to Fauci, as well as to additional public health officials from December 28, 2020 to July 25, 2021.

The first emails sent to Fauci were titled, “Hope you get a bullet in your compromised satanic skull today.” A later email was titled “6 mandatory shots to your disgusting elf skull.” And yet another was labeled “Cutting your scalp off and sewing it onto a rat.”

The emails were sent from an encrypted service based in Switzerland and came from [email protected] Investigators determined the account was first registered on Feb. 4, 2018.

Investigators tracked and identified Connally through the Protonmail account’s interactions with other services registered to him, including an Instagram account.

The investigators said that Instagram account, which had the similar user name “Naturtheater Alhena” was created on May 14, 2020, from an Internet Protocol address associated with a property Connally had been renting.

That was a cabin at Snowshoe, a West Virginia resort popular with skiers.

On April 27, 2020, Connally executed an extension of his cabin rental using the same IP address that had been used to create the Instagram account, another connection used to identify him.

Investigators identified additional, separate email accounts used by Connally that sent information like passwords back and forth to the same Protonmail account that was used to threaten Fauci.

In one case, the Protonmail account was used to forward a list of jobs in a search for technical writer positions.

“On July 27, 2021, law enforcement executed search warrants at Connally’s rental residence in Snowshoe, West Virginia, as well as on his vehicle,” according to his plea agreement.

There, investigators seized several electronic devices, including MacBook Pro laptops that had the [email protected] linked to an Apple user account.

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Boggess tosses a gem as Winfield blanks Shady Spring, 5-0

SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Maci Boggess tossed a four-hit shutout as Winfield advanced to the winners bracket final of the Class AA state tournament with a 5-0 win over Shady Spring.

Boggess did not walk a batter and struck out 13. The Tigers did not put a runner in scoring position after the first inning.

Winfield scored the only run they would need in the bottom of the first when Evie Loyd came home on a run-scoring groundout from Kennedy Dean.

The Generals added another run in the third inning when Dean drove Georgia Moulder home with a single. Winfield (25-7) broke the game open in the fifth by adding three more runs. Dean and Chloe Kimble came through with RBI doubles while Lola Baber added another run on a groundout.

Dean went 2-for-3 with three runs batted in.

Paige Maynard went the distance in the circle for the Tigers (20-5). She struck out seven batters. Olivia Barrett had two of Shady’s four hits.

Winfield will face Oak Glen in the winners bracket final Wednesday evening. Shady Spring meets Herbert Hoover in an elimination game at 4:45 p.m.

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Lottery revenues top $1 billion with 2 months left in fiscal year

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The West Virginia Lottery passed the $1 billion mark in overall sales in revenue numbers released during Wednesday’s Lottery Commission meeting.

At the end of April, the Lottery had recorded $1.06 billion in sales during the first 10 months of the fiscal year.

The Lottery brought in $111.5 million for the month including $43.7 million in Limited Video Lottery, $42.6 million in Racetrack Video Lottery and $13.8 million in instant games.

Year-to-date numbers show Limited Video Lottery revenues at $410 million and Racetrack Video Lottery at $395 million. The Lottery has collected $30 million in revenue from table games this fiscal year.

MORE see Lottery revenue numbers here

The Lottery’s fairly new option of iGaming continues to grow. The state collected $1.3 million from iGaming in April, doubling the amount in took in during the same month a year ago. Year-to-date iGaming revenues are at $10.5 million.

The Lottery could finish the fiscal year in the area of $1.5 billion in total sales. The Lottery has reached $1 billion in overall sales 20 of the past 21 years. The only year to fall short was the 2019-20 budget year that impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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A second record blue catfish from the Kanawha River in just over a month

LEON, W.Va. — A Wednesday morning  on the water turned out to be an epic adventure for an Ohio angler on the Kanawha River in West Virginia.

Steven Price, of Lancaster, Ohio, anchored up on a spot between Point Pleasant and the Winfield Lock and Dam where he has had success hunting for big catfish. He started his day with rods baited up with cut shad around 7:30 a.m.

“About 10 minutes into the trip my rod bent all the way over the back of the boat. Four or five minutes into the fight I’m thinking this thing is 40 to 50 pounds. But he turned and went right into the structure and got me hung up,” he told MetroNews.

The record catch was his third bite of the day. Price also caught this 56 pounder and lost one he believes was in the same class on his first bite of the day.

It was a disappointment and Price admitted he didn’t expect he would hook up with one that big again. But, it was early and he was on the water so he rebaited and cast his lines back into the water to see what would happen. In about 15 minutes, Deja-vu.

“The rod goes down on the back of the boat, I pick it up and it’s another big one. He came up and rolled and I got him into the boat and that fish was 56 pounds. I was thinking man what a day!” he explained.

The standing record for a blue catfish at that moment in time was 59.74 pounds, a fish caught a little over a month ago further up the Kanawha River by Cody Carver.

“I was all excited and calling all of my buddies and telling them this may be the biggest fish I catch all year, well low and behold, about 10 minutes later another rod goes down,” he said.

As Yogi Berra would say, it was Deja-vu all over again.

“I see a boil about 60 feet behind the boat and I see his tail come up out of the water and I think, ‘Holy Moly I got another big one,” said Price.

But this one was different. It was even bigger and it was fighting hard. Price’s net handle was disconnected from the net after the first big fish and the net is the only easy way to get a big one into the boat. He was fishing alone and the fish on the line was giving him all he could handle.


When the big fish surfaced near the boat and Price laid eyes on him, it was another blue catfish and it was a monster.

“That first was 56 pounds and it was close to the record, I was thinking this might really be the record. It really set in when I went to lift it up over the side of the boat I remember thinking this is a really, really heavy fish,” he said.

He got the second monster in the boat and when he hooked it to his scales it pushed up over 70 pounds.

“I set him down and said, that’s definitely the state record,” he laughed.

Listen to “Steven Price — Record Blue Catfish” on Spreaker.

He started making phone calls and eventually a friend put him in touch with West Virginia DNR Biologist Ryan Bosserman, who incidentally was the one who certified the last record just over a month ago. Price’s big catfish tipped the scales at 67.22 pounds. The fish also set a new record for length at 50.7 inches. caught by Justin Goode in the Ohio River in 2021.

After the records were certified and pictures taken, the big catfish was turned loose back into the river alive and well.

“You can’t ask for a better trip, days like that are what we dream about,” said Price.

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Gallagher’s commitment allows West Virginia to bolster 2023 recruiting class

West Virginia received quite the lift to its 2023 recruiting class Wednesday.

Four-star wide receiver Rodney Gallagher, a standout at Laurel Highlands High School in Uniontown, Pa., offered his commitment to the Mountaineers. Gallagher’s addition allows West Virginia to bolster its next incoming class in a big way.

In addition to WVU, Gallagher had Notre Dame, Penn State, Pitt, Oklahoma State, Texas, Virginia Tech and Oregon listed among the final eight schools he was deciding between.

The Mountaineers won out on the services of Gallagher, who has starred for the Mustangs in various roles throughout his prep career.

During the 2021 season, the 5-foot-10, 160-pound Gallagher primarily played quarterback and passed for 1,365 yards with 12 touchdowns, while rushing for 1,130 yards and 21 scores.

Considered an athlete at the next level, Gallagher also held roles as a defensive back and kick and punt returner for the Mustangs. He is considered a top 100 national recruit by several services in the 2023 class, along with one of the top players in talent-rich Pennsylvania.

Gallagher, who had originally announced his commitment date as July 4, is also a basketball standout who averaged just south of 20 points each of the last two seasons.

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Late rally lifts Oak Glen over Herbert Hoover in Class AA opener, 5-4

SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Oak Glen scored three runs with two out in the sixth inning to rally past Herbert Hoover, 5-4 in the opening game of the Class AA state softball tournament at Little Creek Park.

Trailing 4-2 in the sixth, Lizzie Kell scored on a wild pitch to trim the Golden Bear deficit to 4-3. Sydney Brown and Kenna Calahan followed that up with back-to-back run-scoring doubles to give Oak Glen a lead they would not relinquish.

Kell pitched a 1-2-3 seventh inning to shut the door in the seventh. She earned the win for Oak Glen (27-2) with three shutout innings of relief.

Herbert Hoover opened the scoring in the top of the first on a solo home run from Sydney Bright. Oak Glen took the lead back in the bottom of the first with a two-run double off the batt of Maddie McKay. Hoover tied the game in the fourth inning on a solo home run from Grayson Buckner. The Huskies (21-4) added two more runs to take a 4-2 lead.

Sydney Brown went 3-for-4 for the Golden Bears. Calahan and McKay also had multi-hit games.

Oak Glen will face Winfield in the Class AA winners bracket final Wednesday evening. The Huskies will face Shady Spring in an elimination game at 4:45 p.m.

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South Charleston welcomes schools, fans for state softball tournament

SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A chance to be crowned state champions is on the line as the 2022 West Virginia high school state softball tournament began Wednesday.

Teams from around the state are playing at Little Creek Park in South Charleston. The tournament consists of 12 teams and is a double elimination event.

One of the teams competing is (Class AA) Winfield High School. The school has not been to the tournament in 19 years and was on the brink of elimination after losing its first game in the sectionals to Sissonville.

“It was a great season and of course a winning season, we stayed strong and fought through our sectionals after losing the first game,” Winfield Assistant Coach Shawnee Jarrell said. “We are all about team and not about individual players, we’ve had good team bonding this year.”

Winfield player Lola Baber also expressed her excitement about being in the tournament saying “It feels unreal and I’ve been waiting 4 years for this.”

Bryce Casto, the South Charleston High School Athletic Director and the Softball State Tournament Director spoke to MetroNews flagship 580-WCHS about the event saying, “The tournament is great for the city and Mayor (Frank) Mullens has done a fantastic job, we love welcoming folks to our town to show all of the amenities South Charleston has to offer.”

The state championship games are scheduled for Thursday afternoon. The MetroNews high school sports page will have full coverage.

Story by Chayce Matheny

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