Class AA champion Winfield lands four on All-State softball team

Winfield’s try for a repeat as Class AA state softball champions came down to having a mix of senior leadership and talented newcomers this season.

Four of those players were recognized as first- and second-team all-state players, as selected by the West Virginia Sports Writers Association.

Generals coach Steve Hensley said he was pleased that Winfield’s consistency through the regular season and postseason was recognized by the voters.

“It’s a reflection of the work they put in,” said Hensley, who guided Winfield to championships in 2023 and 2024 as well as a runner-up spot in 2022. “When the team is successful, you see your players get rewarded.”

Evie Loyd, a junior, was named as a first-team infielder for Winfield, as was her teammate, Kennedy Schilling.

In 32 games this season, Loyd batted .406 with 41 hits, 12 doubles, three triples and a home run. Loyd drove in 29 runs.

Schilling, a senior, led Winfield in home runs (nine) and RBIs (44) while batting .391 with eight doubles.

On the first team, the Winfield players were joined by two other players from the Kanawha Valley in Herbert Hoover’s Laila Varney and Hannah Shamblin.

Varney, a pitcher, was selected as captain of the first team.

That honor followed a senior season that included a team-best .467 batting average with four homers and 32 RBIs this season. It wasn’t her offense, however, that drew the most attention.

As a pitcher, Varney finished 20-4 for Hoover, posting a 1.34 ERA in 141 innings pitched with 261 strikeouts.

Huskies coach Missy Smith said Varney emerged as a leader early this season, rallying a team that replaced eight starters from 2023.

“We really had leaders by committee, but when Laila started [in the circle], the rest of the team would follow,” said Smith, whose Hoover team made it to the state semifinals this season. “Laila worked so hard in the offseason that she came to us in midseason form. She carried us until we could get going with this group.”

The other first team-pitchers for Class AA included Chapmanville junior Chloe Murphy, Roane County senior Mahailey Nicholson and Bluefield senior Izzy Smith.

Shamblin, a junior, was named a first-team utility player after batting .315 this season with 29 hits and 21 RBIs plus serving as Hoover’s No. 2 pitcher behind Varney, posting a 3.07 ERA, a 6-1 record with 65 strikeouts in 45 2/3 innings pitched.

Rylee Mangold, a junior from Keyser, Jenna Joyce, a freshman from Shady Spring, and Courtney Boggs, a junior from Lewis County, comprised the other first-team utility players.

Harlee Quick, a senior from Logan, plus a pair of players from Independence – junior Emma Lilly and senior Keandra Spurlock – were named to the first-team outfield.

Joining Loyd and Schilling to round out the first team infield were Natalie Green, junior from Scott, Rayna Hoover, a junior from Weir, and Evy Altizer, a sophomore from Chapmanville.

First-team catchers were Taylor Likens, a junior from Keyser who led the state with 18 home runs, and Grace Richardson, a senior from Bluefield.

Bluefield senior infielder Abby Richardson captained the second team. She was joined by Frankfort junior Avery Noel, Winfield senior Alex Hurley, Poca senior Lindzie Runions, Roane County senior Piper Harlan and Chapmanville junior Brook Christian on the second-team infield.

The second team featured two outfielders – both were from the Kanawha Valley. They were freshman Jayley Carper of Hoover and junior Makynli Berrier from Sissonville.

Ava Sampson, a sophomore from Scott, Avery McDaniel, a junior from Philip Barbour, Maddie Murray, a junior from Oak Glen, and Lydia Ellis, a sophomore from Sissonville, rounded out the utility players.

Gina Alvaro, a senior from Robert C. Byrd and Ava Parks, a freshman from Independence, were the catchers.

All-State honorees can obtain state-shaped, wood plaques with name, school, year and honor at wvswa.org or bearwoodcompany.com.

By RICK ELMORE/Gazette-Mail

Class AA
1st team

P – Laila Varney, Herbert Hoover (Sr.) (CAPTAIN)
P – Chloe Murphy, Chapmanville (Jr.)
P – Mahailey Nicholson, Roane County (Sr.)
P – Izzy Smith, Bluefield (Sr.)
IF – Natalie Green, Scott (Sr.)
IF – Evie Loyd, Winfield (Jr.)
IF – Kennedy Schilling, Winfield (Sr.)
IF – Rayna Hoover, Weir (Jr.)
IF – Evy Altizer, Chapmanville (Soph.)
OF – Harlee Quick, Logan (Sr.)
OF – Emma Lilly, Independence (Jr.)
OF – Keandra Spurlock, Independence (Sr.)
C – Taylor Likens, Keyser (Jr.)
C – Grace Richardson, Bluefield (Sr.)
UTL – Rylee Mangold, Keyser (Jr.)
UTL – Hannah Shamblin, Herbert Hoover (Jr.)
UTL – Jenna Joyce, Shady Spring (Fr.)
UTL – Courtney Boggs, Lewis County (Jr.)

2nd team
P – Myleigh Adkins, Logan (Soph.)
P – Eliza Utt, Weir (Soph)
P – Mattie Carroll, Winfield (Soph.)
P – Mattie Carney, Oak Glen (Fr)
IF – Avery Noel, Frankfort (Jr.)
IF – Abby Richardson, Bluefield (Sr.) (CAPTAIN)
IF – Alex Hurley, Winfield (Sr.)
IF – Lindzie Runions, Poca (Sr)
IF – Piper Harlan, Roane County (Sr.)
IF – Brooke Christian, Chapmanville (Jr.)
OF – Jayley Carper, Herbert Hoover (Fr)
OF – Makynli Berrier, Sissonville (Jr)
C – Gina Alvaro, Robert C. Byrd (Sr.)
C – Ava Parks, Independence (Fr)
UTL – Ava Sampson, Scott (Soph)
UTL – Avery McDaniel, Philip Barbour (Jr.)
UTL – Maddie Murray, Oak Glen (Junior)
UTL – Lydia Ellis, Sissonville (Soph.)

Honorable Mention
Lacie Wright, Braxton County; Lexi Burdette, Roane County; Madison Morton, Clay County; Katie Mullens, Liberty; Zoe Nash, Nicholas County; Avary Bragg, Shady Spring; Alli Hypes, Independence; Addison Brumfield, Logan; Taylor Mabry, Bluefield; Lillie Crimm, Grafton; Myah Scott, Nicholas County; Cambria Neal, Nicholas County; Lilly Grady, Poca; Ana Soblit, Sissonville; Elle Marley, Weir; Brooklyn Cole, Winfield; Lacy Curry, Logan; Kaylie Coleman, Logan; Taylor Noe, Logan; Gracie Trentham, Nicholas County; Riley Bruce, Oak Glen; Katie Kennedy, Philip Barbour; Jenna Tilson, Poca; Lexi Napier, Wayne; Alivia Monroe, Wyoming East; Alaira Harrington, Berkeley Springs; Addison Pitts, Frankfort; Olivia Wilmoth, Philip Barbour; Kendra Dunbar, Poca; Klaire LeRose, Poca; Kylie Dean, Weir; Rayleigh Lash, Weir; Mack Hammond, Mingo Central; Mackenzie Hyatt, Nitro; Chloe Patrick, Point Pleasant; Kaylee Byus, Point Pleasant; Karsyn Paynter, Westside; Sadi Wehrle, Herbert Hoover; Madison Lawson, Bluefield; Alexis Williams, Lincoln