Hitting, Parker’s pitching propels PHS over South

PARKERSBURG – Parkersburg High blew open a close game with a six-run fourth inning and senior righthander Cole Parker hurled a three-hit shutout as the visiting Big Reds blanked Parkersburg South 8-0 in the opening game of a two-team, best-of-three Class AAA sectional baseball tournament Tuesday night at Hank Greenburg Field.

The victory gave PHS, now 14-13, a leg up on the 10-20 Patriots, who now must win the next two games while the Big Reds need to take only one of the two remaining contests to claim the sectional and move on to regional play. Action continues at 6 p.m. today at Bennett Stump Field.

PHS took a 1-0 lead in the second when Levi Casto dumped a two-out, pop-fly RBI single into right field that eluded both second baseman Josh Wells and right fielder Kyle Thompson to plate Kyle Foster, who led off the inning with a double, from third.

But then in the fourth, the Big Reds took control of the game with a seven-hit frame to tally six times, all with two outs. First, a wild pitch plated a run, then Rex Windland tripled in a run and Jeff Davis singled in another as did Max Chefren, an error scored still another run and Foster completed the six-run spurt with an RBI double.

Chefren delivered a sacrifice fly in the sixth for the final margin of victory.

Meanwhile, Parker allowed South only three singles, back to back by Josh Wells and Sam Boso to open the Patriot third and with two outs in the fifth by Alex Simon. Parker had only two baserunners reach third, with two outs in the fourth and then again in the fifth, when the Patriots loaded the bases. But a pop-up and strikeout respectively ended both threats.

“Our kids had some timely hits there in fourth inning,” said PHS head coach Alan Burns. “But overall, we really hit the ball well tonight. We preached on them going with the pitch and they did, to all fields. We hit it where it was pitched tonight.”

And on Parker’s pitching performance, Burns gushed, “What a competitor! I rarely will let a kid talk me out of pulling him out of the game. But the thing with Cole all season, he has got stronger as the game has gone on. He works a lot of batters deep in the count, so he throws a lot of pitches, but he’s used to it.”

Parker took a hard shot right back at him that hit off his right forearm in the bottom of the seventh. He still fielded the ball, though, and completed the play with a toss to first for the out. “But he wasn’t about to come out then, with only one out to go in the game,” said Burns.

For South head coach Matt Null, “we just got outhit, outplayed and outcoached today. Give credit to their guy (Parker); we only got three hits off him. The good thing is it’s not over yet. but we just have to refocus and come out and play tomorrow like I know we can.”