Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Winfield Shows Class in 2a-3a Championships

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Winfield Shows Class in 2a-3a Championships

Article excerpt

The Francis Howell Vikings won't be the only area team vying for a state softball title this weekend. The Class 2A-3A Tournament at the Rainbow Softball Complex in Columbia will include Winfield High.

The Warriors (17-1) will play Westran while Westphalia Fatima and Lawson square off in the other semifinal. The tournament will wrap up Saturday.

"We're happy to be here, but we don't want to be satisfied," said Skip Hale, Winfield's first-year coach. "We don't know a whole lot about the teams we'll be facing, except that they're all very good softball teams.

"Getting to Columbia has been in the back of our minds all season and now our goal is to bring home the state title."

The Warriors have never been to state in softball before. They reached the sectionals in 1990 and lost in districts the last two years to eventual state champion Wright City. This year, Winfield knocked off Wright City in the district semifinals and then beat Elsberry for the championship; in sectionals Saturday, the Warriors got by Kelly Benton 2-1.

"Our district is always one of the toughest in the state," said Hale, a St. Charles resident who previously coached at Orchard Farm High and Lindenwood College. "And we also play in a very good league (the Eastern Missouri Conference). Warrenton reached the state sectionals in Class 4A and is one of the top-ranked teams in the St. Louis area. Wright City's won the last two 2A-3A titles and Elsberry also has a very good program.

"Going in, I knew we had some talent. But, with the schedule we play, there was no way I thought we'd be 17-1."

Hale continued: "We won a lot of 2-1 and 3-2 games this season. We're a good team, but we're not a dominating team. We're a team that does what it needs to do to be successful. And, let's face it, we've also gotten our share of the breaks this season."

Winfield's lone loss this season came against Warrenton, which is ranked second in the latest Post-Dispatch poll. The Winfield Warriors have been especially solid on defense and feature one of the state's premier pitchers in junior Sally Henry. …

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