MASON, W.Va. — It dosen’t have to be pretty, just survive and advance.
The Wahama baseball team claimed a hard-fought 8-7 victory over visiting Parkersburg Catholic, in a Class A Region 4, Section 1 elimination game on Friday in Mason County.
The Crusaders (8-13) — who had won back-to-back elimination games headed into Friday — took a 2-0 lead in with two outs in the opening inning, as Bryce Moore doubled home Ryan Roedersheimer and Ty Strum.
PCSH retired Wahama (18-10) in order in the bottom of the first and the guests added to their lead in the top of the second frame, as Joel Stophel and Isaac Walters both scored on an error.
“After the first inning we were down two runs and that didn’t seem to bother them any,” WHS head coach Tom Cullen said after the game. “Then when we got down four runs, it put a little more pressure on them. Give Parkersburg Catholic credit, they hit the ball.”
The White Falcons loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the second, but a double play and a groundout to the pitcher allowed Parkersburg Catholic to escape the frame unscathed.
A one-out double gave the guests two runners in scoring position in the top of the third, but a strikeout and a groundout to the pitcher ended the frame.
Wahama began its fight back with no outs in the bottom of the third, as Nyles Riggs scored on an error, Colton Arrington scored on a double steal, and David Hendrick scored on a single by Philip Hoffman.
“We lost a big opportunity when we hit into the double play with the bases loaded,” Cullen said of the second inning. “When we got those three runs, it gave us a little more confidence, it was a lot tighter game and we had a shot.”
After a scoreless fourth inning for both sides, the Red and White completed their comeback in the bottom of the fifth.
With no outs in the frame, Hendrick singled home Arrington, tying the game at four. Wahama took the lead, at 6-4, as Hoffman and Jacob Fisher scored on a bases loaded error.
Still with no outs in the frame, Dalton Kearns scored on a bases loaded walk to give WHS a 7-4 lead. What appeared to be a sacrifice fly on the next at-bat, turned in to a doubled play, as the White Falcon baserunner was called out for leaving the base early.
A 1-to-3 groundout on the next at-bat allowed PCHS to escape before more damage was done. The Crusaders got one run back in the top of the sixth, as Logan Plummer scored from second base, on a passed ball.
Wahama pushed its lead back to three runs, at 8-5 in the bottom of sixth, as Wyatt Edwards came home on a sac-fly from Kearns.
Three straight one-out walks in the top of the seventh loaded the bases for the guests. After a flyout back to the pitcher, Plummer singled home two runs, pulling the Crusaders within one run, at 8-7. However, with runners at the corners, Riggs struck out the next batter for WHS and sealed the 8-7 victory.
“It wasn’t pretty, but it was a win,” Cullen said. “It means we get to play at least one more game in the tournament, and we’re not done yet.”
Kearns struck out five batters and earned the pitching victory in 5.1 innings on the mound for Wahama. The White Falcon starter allowed five runs, two earned, on seven hits and three walks.
Antonio Serevicz pitched one inning of relief, allowing two earned runs and a trio of walks. Riggs earned the save, pitching the final .2 innings, while striking out one, walking one and surrendering one hit.
Sturm suffered the setback in five innings of work for PCHS, allowing seven runs, six earned, on eight hits, six walks, and a hit batter, while striking out one. Moore pitched the final frame for the guests, allowing one unearned run, while walking one and hitting one batter.
Hoffman and Jared Oliver each had two hits to lead the WHS offense, with Hoffman scoring once and driving in one run. Tanner Smith doubled once and drove in one run, Arrington singled once and scored twice, Hendrick added a single, a run scored and an RBI, while Riggs singled once and scored once.
Kearns, Edwards and Firsher each scored a run in the win, with Kearns also contributing an RBI.
Plummer and Jeb Boice led the guests with two hits apiece. Plummer and Moore both had two RBIs, while Stophel and Walters each scored twice.
Wahama committed four errors and left seven runners on base, while Parkersburg Catholic had three errors and stranded 11 runners.
The White Falcons swept the Crusaders in the regular season, winning 12-2 in the season opener on March 21, in Mason, and then taking an 11-3 victory at PCHS, on May 3.
The win advances Wahama to the section finals, where the White Falcons will have to win two games against top-seeded Ravenswood.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.