Late rally comes up short for Patriots

PARKERSBURG-With a berth in this weekend’s Ohio Valley Athletic Conference playoffs on the line, visiting Cambridge (11-5) took advantage of four errors to tally four unearned runs en route to a 4-2 victory over host Parkersburg South Tuesday night at Hank Greenburg Field.

“It (the OVAC tournament) is not a done deal, yet,” said Patriots’ head coach Matt Null. “But, we have put ourselves in a must win situation and have to hope that they lose Wednesday.”

Wheeling Park, Morgantown and Edison already have locked up berths in the four-team tournament with the final spot coming down to Cambridge and Parkersburg South. The Patriots already had dropped a hard-fought decision at their OVAC rivals earlier in the spring, adding even more impetus to last night’s contest.

Senior Clayton Cottrille took to the mound in hopes of keeping the red, white and blue’s hope for a tourney berth alive. The righthander hurled 6.2 innings, allowing only five hits, but was hurt by four miscues in the field.

“Clayton really pitched a very solid game,” said Null. “We just didn’t do a very good job of helping him in the field.”

The Bobcats took an early 2-0 lead after a leadoff single by third baseman Cody Huffman and two fielding errors on the Patriots put runners on second and third with no one out to open the fourth inning.

Right fielder Trevor Hardesty brought home Huffman with a sacrifice fly to centerfield, then, after a double by Dillon Sunnafrank put runners back at second and third, shortstop Devon Francis plated the final run of the inning with a sacrifice fly to left field.

Cottrille, who stuckout four in the game, got out of the inning, but the damage had been done.

Cambridge added two more unearned runs in the top half of the fifth. Trevor Wilkinson reached on an error to lead off the frame and advanced to third on a double by Kyle Ritz. Cottrille appeared to have worked himself out of the jam, getting opposing pitcher Ben Standiford to ground out to short and then set down Huffman on a line drive fielded by first baseman Wes Mitchem.

The Patriot hurler then went 0-2 on Bobcats’ catcher Quintin Fettas before the Cambridge player looped a two-out, two-run single in short right field.

“Even with all of the errors, we still had a chance to win,” said the South coach. “We have two outs in the inning and two strikes on their kid and his fists one just over our infield for a hit.”

Parkersburg South, which plays at Winfield today, finally came alive at the plate in the home half of the sixth.

Senior Jordan Braniff got things rolling with a two-out single to centerfield. Second baseman Jacob Wilcox followed with a single to right to put runners at first and third. Tyler Berry brought home Braniff with a single to center and then Dylan Weaver plated the second, and final, run of the frame when he touched Standiford for a one-base hit.

That would be it, however, as Standiford, who struckout two in hurling a complete game, got Mitchem to pop out to second.

“That’s baseball,” added Null. “Now, we have to put this game behind us and get ready to play Winfield tomorrow. We still have a shot at the OVAC tournament if we keep winning games.”