WINFIELD, W.Va. — The good thing is still going.
The Point Pleasant baseball team secured its first regional berth in three years while wrapping up the Class AA Region IV, Section 1 crown in an unbeaten fashion on Saturday afternoon with a 5-1 victory over top-seeded Winfield in Putnam County.
The second-seeded Big Blacks (22-7) wasted little time in extending their postseason march as the guests built a 2-0 lead in the top of the first, then tacked on two more runs in the fifth before adding another in the sixth for a commanding five-run cushion.
The host Generals (25-8) finally broke into the scoring column in the home half of the sixth as Sam Ingram came home on a two-out single from Nick Edwards that wrapped up the four-run outcome.
The Red and Black advance to their first Region IV since 2016 on Monday, May 20, when they travel to Scott for a first pitch of 6:30 p.m.
The best-of-three series returns to Point at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 21. If needed, Game 3 will be played at Scott at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 22.
It is the fourth Region IV, Section 1 title for Point Pleasant under sixth-year skipper Andrew Blain, who noted afterwards that his troops were fired up to finish off the Generals on Saturday. Winfield needed to beat PPHS twice to advance to the Region IV tournament.
“We’ve put ourselves in a good position all the way through the tournament, and really all year long. Our guys smelled a little blood in the water and they wanted to go ahead and finish it out today,” Blain said. “Our guys have put themselves in this position between the offseason work and what we’ve done this spring. This was definitely an expectation for this group and we’ve crossed off one of our goals.
“We’ve proven that we are the best team in our section, so now the goal is to prove that we are the best team in the region. It also means that we need to keep getting better, because the games and the competition get even tougher from here on out. But, I’m super proud of the guys for what we’ve accomplished today.”
The Big Blacks came out of the gates firing as Miles Williams led the game off with a double, then Carter Smith reached on an error that put runners at first and second with nobody out. Brody Jeffers followed with a single that loaded the bases with nobody out.
With two away in the top of the frame, Hunter Blain singled to right as Williams came home for a 1-0 advantage. Kyelar Morrow then singled in Smith for a 2-0 edge midway through the first.
The score remained that way until the top of the fifth as PPHS again managed to manufacture some offensive output.
Smith and Jeffers provided back-to-back singles to lead off the inning, then back-to-back walks to Joel Beattie and Wyatt Wilson allowed Smith to score for a three-run lead. Morrow grounded into a fielder’s choice that also brought in Jeffers for a 4-0 advantage midway through five complete.
Smith also tripled in Josh Wamsley with one away in the sixth to give Point its largest lead of the day at 5-0.
Winfield produced 13 baserunners in the contest, but only Ingram managed to reach third base before scoring in the home half of the sixth.
The Big Blacks outhit the hosts by a 9-5 overall margin and also played an error-free contest, while WHS did commit a single error in the setback. PPHS stranded eight runners on base, while the Green and White left seven on the bags.
Hunter Blain was the winning pitcher of record after allowing one earned run, three hits and four walks over five-plus innings of work while striking out six. Landen Fairchild took the loss after surrendering four runs (two earned), seven hits and four walks over five frames while fanning five.
Williams, Smith and Jeffers paced the Big Blacks with two hits apiece, followed by Blain, Morrow and Wamsley with a safety apiece. Morrow led the guests with two RBIs.
Ingram, Edwards, Peyton Stover, Hunter Morris and Peyton Gillispie had a hit apiece for the Generals. Edwards provided the hosts’ lone RBI.
With more than a week until its next contest, Point Pleasant has picked up a road game with Hurricane on Thursday at 6 p.m.
Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.