St. Marys claims LKC title

ST. MARYS – With the exception of a batter or two, St. Marys starting pitcher Michael Stout showed no fear against the Ravenswood batting order.

Even though this was the same Red Devil lineup that shellacked the Blue Devils for 21 runs in St. Marys’ only defeat of the season.

Friday night in the championship game of the Little Kanawha Conference Tournament, Stout limited Ravenswood to three singles and struck out nine while pitching a six-inning shutout in the Blue Devils’ 10-0 victory. Combined with their semifinal win against Gilmer County less than 24 hours earlier, Stout and teammate Robbie Harper combined to surrender one run on seven hits.

“This felt like the game I threw a no-hitter against Williamstown,” Stout said. “I actually wanted to come out for the seventh inning, but we got the win and that’s all that counts.”

St. Marys, which finished runner-up a year ago, secured its fifth LKC crown behind a six-run sixth inning in which Ravenswood pitching failed to record an out.

Leading 4-0 after Johnny Riggs’ solo homer in the bottom of the fifth inning, Jarrod Lough’s second triple of the game drove home Harper and Chad Hofstetter. Lough was given the green light on a 3-0 count and the next offering was sent into right center field.

“The pitch was low and in, and I just turned on it,” Lough said. “As soon as I hit it, I knew it was solid. I figured run like heck because I could make something happen.

“We wanted this game so bad. We wanted to get into the LKC championship because we knew more than likely we would be meeting up with Ravenswood again. We wanted to give them a piece of what they gave us at their place.”

Matthew Houser followed with an RBI single and eventually made his way to third base after stealing second base and taking advantage of a throwing error by the catcher.

A walk to Riggs set up a two-run double by Michael Fox and pinch-hitter Brett Fetty delivered the game-ending hit with an RBI single.

“Our pitching has been strong all year long,” St. Marys coach Ed Wilson said. “We played Ravenswood at their place and they thrashed us, and I think they were mad after Ritchie County beat them then they took it out on us. But other than that, our pitching and hitting have been our strong points all year.

“That was our third time we’ve seen Jesse Brown this year, and I was just hoping we would be ready.”

Before the game was delayed by rain for 20 minutes at the start of the fifth inning, St. Marys had built a 3-0 lead on the strength of a one-out triple by Lough in the bottom of the first inning, a wild pitch by Brown that plated Lough and a bases-loaded walk to Houser in the second inning.

St. Marys had several other threats go for naught and left seven runners on base through its first four innings. Brown retired the side in order just once and allowed seven hits, but was able to keep Ravenswood within striking distance.

As Brown’s counterpart, Stout was in control for three innings after setting down nine of the first 10 batters he faced. Thomas Sturm accounted for the lone hit until Devon Crews and Isaac Crow delivered back-to-back singles with one out in the fourth inning which put runners at second and third base.

Stout then stuck the outside corner for strike-three looking against Sturm before issuing a walk to Trey Hatcher to load the bases. With Rhys Jelich at the plate and facing at a 2-2 count, Stout’s next offering landed down and in, and tied up Jelich for an inning-ending strikeout.