PARKERSBURG - Trailing 5-4 after four innings, visiting Parkersburg South scored the game's next seven runs, capped by Dakota Robinson's three-run double in the top of the seventh, to post an 11-7 win over Parkersburg High Thursday night at City Park to tie the Class AAA Region I, Section 2 tournament at 1-1 and set the stage for a deciding third matchup today between the two schools.
PHS, now 14-14, will play South, now 11-20, in the Patriots' home park, Hank Greenburg Field, at 6 p.m. today, with the victor advancing to Tuesday's regional semifinal versus Wheeling Park.
South took advantage of four Big Red errors in the first three innings to score four times without the benefit of a hit until the third.
Photo by Jeff Baughan
Parkersburg South's Alex Simon, left, along with Parkersburg's Matt Maloney, center, and Jeff Davis all look for a safe or out call at home after a play at the plate in which Davis made a diving attempt to tag Simon. South forced a sectional tournament deciding Game 3 at 6 p.m. today at Hank Greenberg Field with a 11-7 victory.
It was 3-0 Patriots after just an inning and a half.
In the top of the first, Robinson took off from second base on a steal attempt of third, but no one covered the bag as the catcher's throw sailed into left field, allowing Robinson to score. And when the outfielder overran the ball, a second run crossed the plate.
In the South second, a two-out infield pop-up was dropped as Patriot run No. 3 scored.
PHS did get a run back in the bottom of the second. Cole Day was hit by a pitch, stole second and third. But the peg to third was wide, went off the third baseman's glove and ended up in left field as Day came home.
South's first hit of the game, a single by winning pitcher (in relief) Josh Wells, plated a run for a 4-1 lead in the third.
But the Big Reds tallied the next four runs - two in the third on Cole Parker's double and Max Chefren's single and two more in the fourth on Jeff Davis' sacrifice fly and Parker's single - to move in front 5-4.
Then, though, the Patriots tallied four times in the fifth on Alex Simon's RBI double and wild pitch to go ahead 6-5 before a throwing error let in two more runs for an 8-5 lead, and Robinson doubled up the right-center field alley to score all three runners in a two-out, bases-loaded situation in the top of the seventh.
PHS did manage a run in the sixth on back-to-back doubles by Davis and Parker and another in the seventh on Kyle Goodwin's two-out sacrifice fly before a strikeout ended the game.
"Good things happened for us early when we put the ball in play," said South head coach Matt Null. "Then in the last three innings, we really got cranking on the ball, with Robinson's double with the bases loaded ending up being a huge hit."
"This is it now, down to one game to see who moves on," said Null, who jokingly added "Johnny whole staff" will be pitching for him tonight.
PHS head coach Alan Burns noted that seven of the first eight Patriot runs were unearned, and "you can't give up that many of those against anybody and win a game. Plus we walked 10 batters and seven of them scored.
"South wanted it more than we did tonight. Our kids didn't show up ready to play. But we got back into it, weren't ever out of it and had a shot there at the end. However, we hit mediocre, fielded poorly and pitched below average, so that's why we lost."