Ravenswood heads into state championship final

Taylor's double lifts Red Devils to title game

Ravenswood's Chase Swain delivers a pitch to an awaiting Tygarts Valley batter. Photo by Joe Albright.

CHARLESTON — Nic Taylor’s two-out double in the bottom of the eighth inning sent Ciah Kennedy from first base into a headfirst slide safe at home plate and Ravenswood into the state championship game after a 5-4 extra-innings win over Tygarts Valley Thursday at Appalachian Power Park.

“I said ‘Oh gosh, I am scoring I am scoring’,” said Kennedy when quizzed on his reaction to head coach Wes Swain waving him home.

“I was just waiting on something I could drive,” said Taylor after the game. “The pitch I hit was waist-high outside and I knew I had to take it backside. As soon as I hit, I knew it burnt the right fielder and Ciah could make it home.”

Taylor’s hit and Kennedy’s run erased a very nervous start by the Red Devils.

Multiple errors in the first three innings from Ravenswood staked its’ opponents to a 4-0 lead. Chase Swain was on the mound and allowed three hits in 3 2/3 innings pitched. He walked one and struck out two.

Ravenswood players pile on top of teammate Ciah Kennedy after he scored the game-winning run in the Red Devils' 5-4 Class A state semifinal win over Tygarts Valley Thursday at Appalachian Power Park. Photo by Joe Albright.

All runs were unearned. Regardless, Tygarts Valley pitcher Rece Wamsley made them hold up through the first four innings.

Lakin Tucker’s bottom of the fourth one-out sacrifice fly to TVHS centerfielder Marcus Reynolds plated Chase Swain for Ravenswood’s first run. Swain reached on a one-out walk then advanced to second and third on the same wild pitch from Wamsley.

Stephen Dawson and Blake Bennett trimmed the lead to one an inning later with RBI hits. Dawson’s bloop into right field plated Brennan Barr who reached on a single to start the frame. Meanwhile, Bennett brought home Ciah Kennedy after his double followed Barr’s one-bagger.

Ravenswood’s defense turned a 4-6-3 double play in the top of the sixth and helped keep the deficit at one. Tucker rewarded the stout defensive showing when he tied the game by plating Curtis, who hit a lead-off triple, in the bottom of the frame.

Tucker’s hit landed softly in right field. He advanced as far as second base but Stephen Dawson hit into an inning-ending 6-4 double play to end his progress around the horn.

Both teams threatened in the seventh inning, with neither able to plate the go-ahead run. Ravenswood loaded the bases in the bottom of the frame and Chase Swain could have ended things after he hit a triple to set the table for the Red Devils.

His father held him after the three bags instead of sending him home.

“I wanted to really, really bad,” said Swain when asked how badly he wanted to send his son home on the hit. “Once the inning was over I said ‘Man I just should have just took a shot,’ but I had a lot of confidence Nate (Curtis) was going to shut them down. I told them at the beginning of the inning I needed one of Chase or Nate to get on because when Chase comes up there is always a shot he is going to hit one out of the ball park.”

Tygarts Valley put runners on second and third with one out in the first half of the eighth inning but Ravenswood’s pitching and defense came through to end the threat.

Curtis struck out Logan George then got Austin Simmons to groundout to the third baseman for a 5 to 3 third out.

Barr struck out for the first out of the eighth inning before Kennedy hit his single. Dawson struck out for the second out before Taylor delivered his big hit.

“I was just waiting on something I could drive,” said Taylor after the game. “The pitch I hit was waist-high outside and I knew I had to take it backside. As soon as I hit, I knew it burnt the right fielder and Ciah could make it home.”

Ravenswood faces Charleston Catholic or Wheeling Central for the state title at 10 a.m. Saturday.

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