BECKLEY, W.Va. (WVDN) – Two of the best pitchers in the state of West Virginia squared off on Wednesday, March 22, when Greenbrier East’s Josi Ervin battled Woodrow Wilson and their young ace, Aubrey Smallwood.
The pitchers’ duel lived up to its name in this one, but the Spartans snuck out of Beckley with an important, early-season, 2-1 victory over their archrivals, as Ervin was just a little bit better when it mattered most.
“I knew it was a sectional opponent, so it was time to really lock in, and Woodrow is a good team all the way around from Smallwood on the mound to their bats,” Ervin said after the game.
“I was really focused on hitting spots that (Jimmy) Honaker called and spinning the ball around their bat,” she added.
Both players were valuable on offense as well. In the top of the fourth, Ervin singled and was brought home by Taylor Boswell who laced a double to centerfield on a 3-1 pitch. That put the Spartans up 1-0 at that point.
Ironically enough, Smallwood drew a walk from Ervin in the bottom of the fourth and reached base. Four batters later, with two outs, Makinizi Lafferty singled home Smallwood to tie the contest at 1-1, but Ervin focused and struck out the next batter to end the inning.
“I want to be the best I can be,” Ervin said when asked if facing Smallwood makes her even better. “Pitchers like her make me want to throw even better. Being the pitcher that she is also makes me want to hit off of her even more.”
East’s Lilly Carola singled to begin the top of the seventh frame and advanced to second on an error, giving the Spartans the go-ahead run-in scoring position. She would score when Olivia Plybon also reached on an error and East took a 2-1 lead.
Ervin gave up a single in the final inning but retired the next two Woodrow hitters to secure the victory.
Ervin went the full seven innings and scattered just five hits and struck out 13 Eagles hitters.
The lefty has pitched a lot to start this campaign, but she is still kicking (or throwing) and is looking forward to many more outings.
“My arm isn’t ready to fall off yet,” she joked.
“I make sure to take care of it by icing and using heat after I pitch big games like tonight. I want to be able to make it through the whole season, and taking care of my arm is the only way to do so,” Ervin said.
Alanis McClary, Ervin, Boswell, Carola, Plybon and Jenna Groves all had one hit apiece for the Spartans.
Smallwood took the loss for Beckley but pitched seven innings, allowing just six hits and striking out 11.
East will head to Oak Hill this Friday, March 24, to take on the Red Devils.