St. Marys advances after rain delay
ST. MARYS – St. Marys was determined to play a Class A, Region I semifinal baseball game on Tuesday night.
In addition to a 1 1/2 -hour rain delay and a 30-minute lightning delay, St. Marys took care of Clay-Battelle 10-0 in five innings to remain unbeaten this season at Dave Wilson Field. The 28-2 Blue Devils await the winner of today’s regional semifinal game in New Martinsville between Magnolia and Bishop Donahue.
The regional final is set for 6:30 p.m. Thursday in St. Marys.
“This is right where we were last year and we couldn’t finish it,” St. Marys coach Ed Wilson said. “We’ve accomplished two of our goals by winning the Little Kanawha Conference title and sectionals. Now we have a chance to win regionals on our own field.”
The Blue Devils not only earned their keep with the sticks but also preparing the field following a torrential downpour moments before the teams were set to take the field for practice.
“I’m honestly surprised we got this game in – I was ready to play today,” said St. Marys leadoff hitter Robbie Harper, who will take credit for a walk-off homer after his two-run blast ended the game with one out in the bottom of the fifth inning. “We were taking donations in the stands to get kitty litter. Everybody was helping.”
Harper also earned the pitching victory after striking out four and allowing just one hit in four innings of work.
“I didn’t have my best curve ball and didn’t have my best slider,” Harper continued. “But I had a good fastball and was able to keep them off-balance. Plus, my defense played really well.”
Tyler Davis closed up shop for St. Marys by striking out four batters in the fifth inning. One of those strikeouts resulted in the batter reaching safely on a wild pitch.
St. Marys received an early indication the baseball gods were on its side with a pair of impressive defensive plays in support of Harper.
After Harper struck out the leadoff hitter, Blue Devil right fielder Garrett Furr turned a would-be single by Clay-Battelle’s Seth Carmody into an out by rifling a throw to the first baseman which beat Carmody to the bag.
The next hitter, Kurt Latocha, ripped a hard grounder in Harper’s direction. The ball deflected off the pitcher and third baseman Chad Hofstetter picked it up in stride and threw the batter out.
In the bottom half of the inning, control problems spelled the demise of Clay-Battelle starting pitcher Sam Cropper, who got the hook after just two-thirds of an inning after walking six and allowing three runs without the benefit of a hit.
St. Marys came up with two-out lightning to move in front 4-0 in the third inning. With bases empty, Michael Fox walked and Tyler Davis followed with a double which bounced off the fence 351 feet from home plate. Fox scored without a throw.
Of the six hits credited to St. Marys two played a factor in the Blue Devils’ four-run fourth inning. Clay-Battelle also played a role by committing two errors.
Following a perfect first inning, Harper had his work cut out in the next three innings.
After a lead-off single in the second inning, Josh Lemley was stranded on third base. A one-out walk to Brandon Poling in the third inning eventually led to a baserunner reaching second base on a steal, but Harper threw out the final batter of the inning to squelch any threat. Another walk in the fourth inning was sandwiched around a strikeout to keep the shutout intact.
Gilmer County 5,
Parkersburg Catholic 2
GLENVILLE – Adam Beall spun a three-hitter with 10 strikeouts and host Gilmer County collected 10 hits to best Parkersbutg Catholic 5-2 in a Class A regional semifinal here Tuesday night.
The Titans, now 24-10, had lost to the Crusaders the last two years in the regional semis, but got the pitching and hitting Tuesday to top Catholic, which finished at 18-13.
Nathan Allison paced the Gilmer batters, going 4-for-4 with two doubles snd three RBIs, while PC’s Payton Sturm was 2-for-3 with an RBI.
Gilmer plays at the Buffalo-Wahama winner in the regional finals on Thursday with a trip to the state tournament on the line.