POINT PLEASANT, W.Va. — Coming through in the clutch.
Senior James Littlepage drove in Cody Sockwell with a one-out single in the bottom of the seventh, allowing Point Pleasant to secure a thrilling 5-4 victory over visiting Parkersburg South in a non-conference baseball contest in Mason County.
The Big Blacks (4-1) trailed 2-0 after one inning and were down 4-3 through four complete, but the hosts came up with some timely hitting over their final three trips to the plate — which ultimately allowed PPHS to rally back for the one-run triumph.
Leading 4-3 headed into the bottom of the fifth, the Patriots (0-1) allowed Point Pleasant to tie the game on a two-out single by Matt Richardson — which ultimately brought Derek King home from second to knot the game at four.
Both teams left runners stranded in the sixth inning, and PSHS stranded a pair in the top of the seventh after having two on with only one out. Cody Sockwell recorded a pair of strikeouts on the next two batters, allowing the Big Blacks to get out of the frame unscathed.
Sockwell started the bottom of the seventh with a single, then advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Garrett Litchfield. Richardson was issued an intentional walk to set up force outs, but a passed ball allowed both baserunners to move up to second and third.
Instead of loading the bases to set up more force out options with one away in the inning, Parkersburg South elected to pitch to Littlepage. Facing a 1-2 count, the senior first baseman delivered a single into the right-centerfield gap — allowing Sockwell to cross home plate with the winning run.
The Big Blacks outhit the guests by a 14-10 overall margin, but also committed three of the five errors in the contest. The hosts stranded nine runners on base, while Parkersburg South left eight on the bags.
PPHS trimmed it early two-run deficit in half following an RBI-single by Kaleb Beckner in the second, then Littlepage drove in a pair of runs with a double in the third — allowing Point to secure its first lead of the night 3-2.
The Patriots, however, answered with two scores in the top half of the fourth to reclaim a 4-3 edge. PSHS managed only three hits and four baserunners the rest of the way.
Sockwell was the winning pitcher of record after allowing zero runs and three hits over three innings of relief work, striking out four in the process. Jordan Cunningham allowed three earned runs and a walk while fanning two as the PPHS starter.
Garrett Bonnett took the loss for PSHS after surrendering one earned run, two hits and three walks over 1.1 innings of relief while striking out one. Dalton Wiggins started and allowed four earned runs and a dozen hits while fanning four in the no decision.
Sockwell and King paced PPHS with three hits apiece, followed by Littlepage and Abe Stearns with a pair of safeties each. Richardson, Beckner and Chris Lush also had a hit each for the victors.
Littlepage led the hosts with three RBIs and Sockwell scored a pair of runs. Richardson and Beckner each drove in a run, while Litchfield, Richardson and Trey Tucker all crossed home plate once.
Cole Day and Nick Wright each had three hits to pace the Patriots, while J.T. Kemp added a pair of safeties. Reese Fletcher and Tyson Graham also had a hit each in the setback. Kemp, Fletcher and Wiggins each drove in a run, while Kemp, Graham, Day and Drew Yanok scored a run apiece.
Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.
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