WELLSTON — Throughout their Wellston careers, this senior class has never known what it’s like to not win the TVC on the softball diamond. 

And after Wednesday, they never will. 

In the biggest game of its season to date and with the TVC championship on the line, the Golden Rockets established their dominance and claimed their third straight conference crown with a 9-1 victory over Vinton County. 

“It’s always special to win the TVC, and for this group, it’s all they’ve ever known,” Wellston coach Jim Hall said. “Every year they know teams are going to give them their best shot to knock us off, and a couple have over the years but we’ve still remained on top. That says a lot about how the girls approach the field and how they’ve improved during that time to enter high school as conference champions and leave high school as conference champions.” 

The first time the two TVC titans squared off, it took Wellston a couple innings before catching its rhythm and eventually teeing off for the shutout win. 

This time around, Wellston wasn’t waiting. It struck early and often, sending a statement that the conference crown wasn’t leaving its trophy case. 

After sitting down the Vikings to open the game, Wellston struck first with an RBI single from Sadie Henry to take a 1-0 lead. Three batters later with the bases loaded, Nevaeh Ousley roped a two-run double to right field that extended the advantage to 3-0. 

“We struggle sometimes to hit off of (Vinton County pitcher) Kerrigan (Ward), she does such a great job of hitting her spots and keeping us off balance at times,” Ousley said. “We knew she was going to locate her pitches inside and outside, but there’s an adrenaline rush for us that comes when we play Vinton County. There was a chance that we’d have to share the TVC, but we don’t like to share.” 

It continued the offensive outburst in the next inning as Henry ripped a two-run double to deep left field, and then scored on the next at-bat off an RBI double to right field by Alyssa Petersen to push the game up to 6-0. 

That was more than enough as Hannah Potts in the circle with her defense back her up had little issue handling the Vikings offense. 

As the Golden Rockets continued their stranglehold on the game, Kamryn Karr added to the advantage as she sent a laser to left field and legged out a two-run double in the bottom of the fourth for an 8-1 lead. 

“Sometimes we wait until halfway through the game to really turn things on, but we came out swinging from the first inning until the final pitch,” Karr said. “We’ve all been playing together for a really long time, but we all have the desire to be the best. Winning TVC is great, but we want to make a tournament run.” 

Wellston scored its final run on a fielding error, while Vinton County’s lone run came in the top of the fifth with a solo home run from Breanna Sexton. 

Henry finished 3-for-3 with a double and three RBIs, while Karr went 2-for-4 with a double and two RBIs. 

Ousley was 1-for-4 with a double and two RBIs, and Alyssa Petersen finished 3-for-4 with a double and an RBI. 

Hannah Potts earned the win in the circle, tossing five innings and allowing just two hits while striking out eight batters. 

Wellston will conclude its regular season on Monday at home against Portsmouth Clay, before turning its attention to the tournament. 

It earned a No. 3 seed and will host the winner between Alexander and Chesapeake on Thursday in a Division III sectional final. 

“We definitely need to sharpen up our hitting. It’s getting to where it needs to be, but we have to do a better job of jumping on the ball a little bit sooner,” Ousley said. “Also, our base running has to be better. We have a tendency to make stupid base running errors, so as long as we clean that up and hit the ball well, I like our chances to run a long run.”