PHS gives Hurricane a scare

PARKERSBURG – After five innings Tuesday night at Bennett Stump Fleld, Parkersburg High was trailing visiting Hurricane – the No. 1 Class AAA baseball team in the state – by only a run at 5-4.

But the final score two innings later was 9-4 in favor of the Redskins over the host Big Reds as Hurricane plated a pair of unearned runs in the sixth and then added two more tallies in the seventh to produce the five-run margin of victory.

The Redskins, now 18-5, got off to a 5-0 start as winning pitcher Riley Metz belted a two-run homer just three batters into the game, then got two more on two PHS errors in the third for a 4-0 lead and Trey Dawson delivered a sacrifice fly in the fourth.

But PHS (10-10), which only had two hits versus Metz through four frames, batted around in its half of the fifth to score four times and close the gap to just one.

Logan Dudley reached on an infield hit to open the Big Red fifth, stole second and Kyle Foster walked before Damon Ribeiro bounced an RBI single up the middle. Anthony Kist followed by doubling up the left-center field alley between the outfielders to the fence to chase two runs home. Leadoff hitter Lucas Goodwin doubled down into the left-field corner, advanced to third on Levi Casto’s infield single behind second and came home when Caleb Thash’s grounder to second was bobbled for an error.

Hurricane, though, got two runs back in the sixth on an error and passed ball before the Big Reds threatened in the bottom of the inning. With a runner on second and no outs, a ball hit back to the pitcher was turned into a rundown between second and third. After the tag-out at third, the ball was then thrown to second base to nab the batter trying to slide in to complete a double play.

And in the seventh, Max Maxson and Austin Hensley stroked run-scoring singles for the Redskins.

”We played well, but if we don’t make mistakes, we can win this game,” said PHS head coach Alan Burns. ”Unfortunately, we made a few mistakes, and we can’t make mistakes against the No. 1 team in the state and win. But I thought we pitched pretty well and although it took us a while to get started, after about the third or fourth inning, we hit the ball real well.”

Still Burns’ team had won four of its last five games coming into Tuesday’s tilt to push above the .500 mark at 10-9. ”So we are playing much better than early in the season,” he said, ”and lately, it’s been against some very good teams, too. But it doesn’t always show that. In most of the games, if we can get like two errors or less, we’re winning, while three errors or more, we’re losing ’em. The five or six errors like we had tonight, that just beats us.”