Brace yourself

Righty hurls PHS past Riverside

Photo by Josh Hughes Parkersburg’s Nolan Brace fires a pitch to home plate in the Big Reds’ 7-3 win over Riverside Wednesday evening.

PARKERSBURG — Five innings of work from Nolan Brace and a home run from Jordan Batten lifted the Parkersburg Big Reds over Riverside, 7-3, on Wednesday night.

The crowd at Bennett Stump Field witnessed a strong offensive performance from the Big Reds, as timely hits played a big role in this one.

Following an efficient nine-pitch first from Brace, the Big Reds wasted no time in the batter’s box.

Nathan Lindenmuth scorched a triple into left-center and was driven in by Batten on a single to make it 1-0.

The Warriors responded with an RBI two-bagger from Jarrett Wiseman that tied the game up, but the biggest inning for the home team was coming up quickly in the last of the third.

After TJ McIntosh caught a deep fly ball at the fence in left field, Brace got himself out of a jam with a runner at second.

Brace came off the field with his fist raised in the air, as the emotion of the moment was not lost on the pitcher.

That allowed the Big Reds to swing for the lead their next time up, and that’s exactly what they did.

Hayden Morris found himself at third after a sacrifice bunt from Lindenmuth and a wild pitch, as Max Anderson singled him home after a long at-bat.

Batten was the next man up for PHS, and he hammered a ball to left field to give his team a 4-1 lead.

The contest seemed to be in hand for the Big Reds, but the Warriors stormed back.

Brace’s last inning was not without drama, as a Warrior run via Chris Buchanan trimmed the deficit. After a fielding error extended the Riverside threat, Jake Petry lined a single into center to make it a 4-3 game. With runners at first and second, catcher Parker Olson gunned down the runner at third to stop the bleeding.

Kyle Moore relieved Brace, but Brace got plenty of run support in the bottom of the fifth. A two-run single from Connor Walker stretched the lead back out to three, then Anthony Craig scored on a wild pitch from third. Those runs made all the difference needed, as the Big Reds left Bennett Stump as winners. Batten’s 3-RBI performance was a big part of the win, and coach Alan Burns recognized his performance among other strong efforts.

“Jordan going deep like that, that helped us,” Burns said. “You know, Connor Walker got a key hit in the sixth inning to give us bases loaded with no one out. We didn’t get a hit from our five hitter or our six hitter, but then our seven hitter (Walker) gets us that single. He had a good night, too.”

His pitchers kept the Warriors at bay, and Burns praised their efforts, as well.

“(Brace) was hitting his spot, and he competed,” he said. “Then, Kyle came in and same thing. His fastball was pretty good. His curve was here and there, but he competed.”

Burns will need his team to continue competing at a high level, as they travel to South Charleston to take part in the Eddie Carter Tournament on Friday. They play two games in the first day of action with a 3:30 p.m. first pitch against Spring Valley. Then, the Big Reds (9-6) play host South Charleston after they get done with the Timberwolves.