Baseball still king in Gilmer

It’s been nearly a year since the Gilmer County baseball team was rudely ousted from the postseason in a Class A regional semifinal affair where the Titans and ace Karl Bennington suffered a 1-0 eight-inning setback to Parkersburg Catholic’s Mitch Davis.

Well, as it turns out the Titans are waiting to square off against either PCHS or Williamstown come next Monday in a road contest here in Wood County.

Titan skipper Joe Frashure’s squad has had a stellar campaign that not only includes a 26-4 record, but also a coveted Little Kanawha Conference crown.

“Fourth time in school history,” Frashure said of winning the LKC title, which his team did by beating St. Marys. “We’ve only won it twice outright on the field. The other two times we were the No. 1 seed (and it was rained out).

“That son of a gun is hard to win. We’ve been in it a lot, but it’s tough to win. We were really happy with that.”

Frashure wasn’t too happy, though, when Austin Ratliff was thrown out of the LKC semifinal victory on a collision play near the plate. The coach said he was probably within a word or less of getting his first career ejection.

“I took care of things the only way I can with my report,” Frashure said of the incident that caused Ratliff to miss the LKC final and then the first two games of the sectional versus Wirt County, where the Tigers won once before falling in a decisive third game.

“I still just completely disagree with the call. I think the guy (umpire) over-reacted. I might not have been (over it) had we not gotten out of the sectional, but getting out of it helped.”

Now in his 13th year at the helm of the Glenville-based program, Frashure has proven time and again he can produce winners on the field.

A year ago, the Titans went 23-9 and two years ago they were 25-6.

One of the biggest keys this season has been the return of hurler Adam Beall, who didn’t pitch after the second game of 2012 due to injury.

The Titans ran off a school-best 22 wins to start the campaign before being swept by Charleston Catholic. The Titans’ previous best start was 16-0 back in 2001 when they captured the Class A state crown.

“We’ve made three or four regional championship appearances and just fell short, but we have not been back to state and I mean it’s going to be tough as heck to get back this year,” said the coach, noting if they get past the PCHS/WHS sectional winner they likely will face the Irish.

Having not played since last week, the Titans are set to invade Ritchie County this afternoon and then play host at 5 p.m. Friday to Braxton County.

“These guys have just committed to it and I think are being rewarded for working their butts off,” Frashure added. “They’ve just been a part of winning and know what it takes and just kind of continued it.”

Contact Jay Bennett at jbennett@newsandsentinel.com