PARKERSBURG -Parkersburg South rallied for three runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to notch a dramatic 7-6 win over visiting Parkersburg High Friday night when junior Josh Wells lashed a line single to left-center field to drive in the tying and winning tallies as the Patriots captured the Class AAA Region I, Section 2 championship in the third and deciding game of a two-team, best-of-three series at Hank Greenburg Field.
South, now 12-20, will play host to Wheeling Park in the regional semifinals at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, while the Big Reds finished their season at 14-15.
The Patriots saw a 4-0 lead after three innings entirely evaporate when PHS scored two times in the fifth and thrice in the sixth to surge ahead 5-4, then add another tally in the top of the seventh.
But in the last of the seventh, a leadoff walk to Dakota Robinson was followed by Tyler Berry belting an RBI double to deep left-center field. Alex Simon then smacked a wicked line shot to center to send Berry to third, and a steal of second put both base-runners in scoring position.
Not for long, though, as Wells, the next batter, stepped to the plate with still no outs and smacked a line single into left-center that chased both runners home as the celebration began for South.
“I knew he (PHS relief pitcher Logan Dudley, who just entered the game) would have to come at me because there were runners in scoring position and he wouldn’t want to get the bases loaded,” said Wells. “So I was just trying to look for a good pitch so I could hit it, and I got a fastball down the middle and happened to get a good shot on it.”
It was Wells’ first-ever game-winning hit for South to end a game, that saw him go 3-for-4 with a double and four RBIs.
“Throughout this season, we had a lot of ups and downs,” said South head coach Matt Null. “But I do believe we’re playing our best baseball now.”
The Patriots built their early lead with a four-run third that featured seven stolen bases, a Big Red throwing error that plated a run, a Wells two-run double and a Sam Boso RBI single.
But PHS battled back on Rex Windland’s sacrifice fly and Cole Parker’s run-scoring single in the fifth, and pinch-hitter Kyle Goodwin’s bases-loaded walk and a two-run outfield fielding error in the sixth to move in front.
VIENNA – Host Parkersburg High came out with its bats blazing to score six runs in the first three innings en route to the Big Reds’ first-ever sectional softball championship in school history with a 7-4 win over Parkersburg South in the third and deciding game of the Class AAA Region I, Section 2 tournament Thursday afternoon at Jackson Park.
Three runs in the first and three more in the third gave PHS, now 19-12, a lead the Big Reds never relinquished the rest of the way.
The Patriots, finishing their season at 8-23, did though close to within 7-4 in the top of the seventh before PHS starter and winner Cassidy Newbrough recorded the final two outs to finish out a complete game.
“Boy, it’s come a long way,” said Big Red head coach Ron Perdue of the PHS softball program that has steadily progressed under his tutelage for the last three years – from 12 wins to 15 and now up to 19 with a sectional title.
“It’s a most amazing thing; I don’t even have words to describe it. I’m so proud of these kids, especially our seniors, who won just two games as freshmen, but hung in there and stayed with the program.”
PHS, with a regional semifinal date next week, got going quickly Thursday as Baylee Hilling singled in a run and Kaleigh Westfall doubled in two more in the first frame for s 3-0 lead.
South chipped a run off that deficit in the top of the third on a Trinity Fury RBI single. But the Big Reds came right back in the bottom of the inning with another 3-spot to go up 6-1 on back-to-back run-scoring doubles by Newbrough and Hilling, and Sarah Nay’s RBI single.
Each team added a run in the fourth on wild pitches, and the Patriots clipped two more runs off PHS’ lead in the seventh on RBI singles by Sarah Huffman and Anna Richards before they ran out of outs.
“Our girls never gave up,” said South head coach Jenny Null, who acknowledged that “timely hitting has been a little bit of our area of weakness this season,” as the Patriots had 16 base-runners Thursday, but only ended up with four crossing the plate. “We did though start to get some hits there at the end,” but ultimately it was too little and too late for South.