Ripley blows past the Patriots, 9-2

Photo by Josh Hughes Ripley’s Josh Carte awaits a pitch during the Vikings’ 9-2 victory Tuesday against host Parkersburg South.

PARKERSBURG — As both Parkersburg South and Ripley are looking to find footing, Tuesday night’s contest at Hank Greenburg Field was one that had a little bit of everything. However, most of those highlights came from the visiting Vikings in a 9-2 win.

Ripley took advantage of an early mistake from pitcher Grant Hussey, as he beamed a ball in the dirt on a pickoff attempt. Broedy Boyce at second advanced to third and was driven in on a sacrifice fly from Dane Petersen. Hussey’s miscue cost him a run in the first, as South was in an early, but manageable hole.

The Patriot bats were controlled by the Ripley pitching staff throughout the night, as Hussey couldn’t get run support. Ripley kept up the pressure, as it went off for a lengthy third frame. Boyce led off with a double down the first base line, and he eventually scored on a wild pitch during the next at-bat.

South’s woes continued when Josh Carte drove in a runner on a hit into center. The last bit of damage in the inning came from Davis Haynes on an RBI to grow the lead to 4-0. The Patriots didn’t back down from the challenge of making a comeback, since the bats came out in full force in the home half of the third.

Colin Bryant led off with a stand-up double down the third base line, and he was sent home by Nick Yoho’s ensuing at-bat. Yoho ripped a double into centerfield to get the home team on the board. In what was a bullpen game for the Vikings, coach Shane Casto pulled Tyler Haskins after the run.

Andrew Manley relieved his teammate and go off to a good start for Patriot batters. He plunked Blake McMullen on his first pitch of the night. After a quick pop-up for the first out, Drew Cochran reached on an error when Gage Songer bobbled the ball in an attempt to throw Cochran out.

That loaded the bases, but PSHS came away with the one run. Two consecutive fly balls to center from Jared Clemente and Chase Dunbar ended the threat.

Things went from bad to worse for the Patriots in the sixth, as Cameron Patterson was caught in a rundown between first and second. Patterson outfoxed South defenders, as he made it to second. Meanwhile, Boyce was at third and saw Patterson’s rundown as an opportunity to steal home. That steal extended the Ripley advantage to 7-1. With Hussey out of the game since the previous inning. Nathan Currey and Evan McMillion’s pitching performances yielded similar results. Currey was on the mound when the double-steal happened, and Evan McMillion was on the mound to see two more Ripley batters touch home.

Despite a late run from South, the contest was well in hand. Coach Casto’s Vikings got a win they needed, and he was complementary of his entire team’s effort. On the subject of baserunning and Boyce’s home steal, he was happy to see the team taking risks.

“It’s what of those things you work on a lot (double-steal at home), but you don’t get the opportunities to try them,” Casto said. “You gamble a little bit when you try that, but we had a 6-7 run lead, and we had the right guys in the right position.”

This win puts Ripley in a good position, as Casto said it was the “first time in a long time” they won a game at South. This win puts them at 8-7 on the year, and they welcome Point Pleasant in a doubleheader on Thursday. Parkersburg South also has a Thursday matchup at home, as they look to bounce back and take on Warren at 5 p.m.