POINT PLEASANT, W.Va. — So it all comes down to this.
Visiting Scott led wire-to-wire and and managed to stave off elimination on Tuesday night while forcing a winner-take-all scenario with an 11-7 victory over the Point Pleasant baseball team in Game 2 of the Class AA Region IV Championships held in Mason County.
The host Big Blacks (23-8) — who pulled off a nail-biting 1-0 win in Boone County just 24 hours earlier — found themselves in a quick hole as the Skyhawks (26-6) were ahead 2-0 three batters into regulation and ultimately built a four-run cushion through a half-inning of play.
PPHS, however, countered with three runs in its half of the first to close back to within a run, but the Red and Black were never closer the rest of the way.
SHS tacked on a run in the second, then both teams added a score apiece in the fourth en route to a 6-4 contest. The Black and Gold then scored five consecutive runs between the sixth and seventh frames for an 11-4 cushion, but Point rallied for three runs in the home half of the seventh before running out of outs.
The Big Blacks had won seven straight home games and were unbeaten in postseason play before Tuesday’s outcome, which ended up finishing Point Pleasant’s home season with a 13-2 overall mark.
Because of the outcome, PPHS will partake in the all-important Game 3 in Madison on Wednesday night, with the first pitch scheduled to be thrown at 6 p.m. The winner advances to the Class AA state tournament next week at Appalachian Power Park.
Aaron Epling led the game off with a walk and stole second, then came around on a double from Isaac Miller for a permanent lead of 1-0. Nathan Kuhn followed by reaching on an error that allowed Miller to score, then Carter Lyles singled and Peyton Brown walked to load the bases with nobody out.
Trenton Short followed with a one-out single to left that allowed both Kuhn and Lyles to score for a 4-0 advantage a half-inning into regulation.
The Big Blacks countered with a leadoff double by Miles Williams, who advanced to third on a groundout by Carter Smith. Brody Jeffers singled home Williams, then Joel Beattie blasted a two-run home to left-center that trimmed the deficit down to 4-3 after an inning of work.
The Skyhawks, however, countered as Miller lifted a solo homer to left-center with one away in the second, giving the guests a 5-3 cushion.
That lead held up until the fourth as Lyles tripled in Epling with two away, allowing Scott to extend its edge out to 6-3.
Point retaliated with a run in its half of the fourth as Hunter Blain reached safely on an error and came around to score on a two-out double by Williams — making it a 6-4 contest through four complete.
Brown singled in Miller with one away in the sixth, then an error allowed Kuhn to come plateward while again doubling the lead out to 8-4.
Lyles doubled in both Hunter Eplin and Kuhn with two away in the seventh, then Lyles crossed home plate on a single to right by Brown that gave SHS its largest lead of the night at 11-4.
The Big Blacks rallied in the bottom of the seventh as Jeffers and Beattie provided back-to-back one-out singles, then Wyatt Wilson doubled to right-center as Jeffers came around to score for an 11-5 contest.
Blain grounded out to third in the next at-bat, but Beattie was able to score on the play as the deficit was now down to five runs. Tanner Mitchell reached safely on an error that allowed Wilson to come home for an 11-7 contest.
With the bases loaded, two away and the tying run at the plate, SHS reliever Aaron Adkins needed only four pitches to record the final out on a called third strike — allowing the Skyhawks to wrap up the triumph.
The Black and Gold outhit the hosts by a 15-11 overall margin and also committed five of the seven errors in the contest. Scott stranded 11 runners on base, while the Big Blacks left nine on the bags.
Brown was the winning pitcher of record after allowing four runs (three earned), seven hits and two walks over six innings while striking out five. The guests also used Adkins and Kuhn to close out the seventh inning.
Point Pleasant used five different hurlers in the game, with starter Joe Herdman taking the loss after surrendering four runs (three earned), three hits and two walks in just a third of an inning while striking out one.
Williams and Wilson paced PPHS with three hits apiece, followed by Jeffers and Beattie with two safeties each. Josh Wamsley also had a hit for the hosts in the setback.
Lyles — A West Virginia University signee — led Scott by going 3-for-4 at the plate, scoring twice and also knocking in three RBIs. Miller also had three hits, drove in two and scored three times.
Kuhn, Brown and Short added two hits apiece to the winning cause, while Epling, Adkins and Dakota Bowman had a safety each.
Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.