Parkersburg South moves on to regional contests

Photo by Tyler Bennett Parkersburg South’s baseball team celebrates its Class AAA, Region IV Section 1 championship following an 8-5 win over Ripley Monday in Ripley. The Patriots now face Hurricane in the regional final for the second straight year.

RIPLEY– Playing six and a half innings Saturday afternoon before being forced to continue Monday due to the weather, the Parkersburg South Patriots needed only 25 minutes to repeat as the Class AAA Region IV, Section I champions after an 8-5 win over Ripley Monday at Viking Park.

“They had a long two to three days break, but it was different trying to get them ready and I thought we did a good job at it,” Parkersburg South head coach Todd Burner said.

In a rematch of last year’s Region I final, South (19-11) will square off against last year’s Class AAA state champion the Hurricane Redskins next Monday at an undetermined time. The Redskins and Patriots faced each other early in the year at Power Park in Charleston, a 7-2 win for Hurricane.

According to Burner, the only way you can play for a state championship is by playing the best teams. By scheduling a tough out of conference schedule, South will be ready for the Redskins.

“We got to win a game down there in order to win it all. Hurricane is a top team. They have proved it with the past couple of years and they got a good program, “ Burner said, “They have been tested, the grind and state tournaments in the past couple of years. We have to try to top them, but it’s a tough thing to do. But anything can happen in baseball.

Resuming play in the bottom the sixth with Viking Josh Carte entering the batter’s box and Dane Petersen on first with no outs, South needed just six outs for the victory.

Burner turned to Colin Bryant for the series-clinching save.

The junior got the first out easily enough on Carte’s fly out to center field. He ran into a little trouble afterward as Ethan Patterson reached on a hit by pitch to put runners on first and second.

Luckily for him, Gage Songer grounded into an inning-ending double play started by second baseman Drew Cochrane.

The Patriots added an insurance run off Nick Yoho’s line drive RBI, his second of the game, to center field during their only plate appearances of the afternoon. Yoho likely would have ended up in scoring position himself with a double but tripped rounding first base.

The WVU preferred football walkon finished the two game series against the Vikings red hot with six hits in nine at bats, with a double and two RBIs.

Saddled with the job of keeping the Vikings season alive were the bottom three bats in the order. They put runners on the corners and Davis Haynes managed to find home plate on Tyler Haskins’ RBI sac-fly to center.

Petersen though couldn’t produce another scoring hit as he popped out to centerfield for the the final out. Bryant then celebrated with his teammates on the mound after picking up the save.

“We had him warming up in the bullpen Saturday and if the game was going to the seventh, we were going to use him if we had the lead at that time,” Burner said, “He was eligible to pitch Saturday but we wanted to pitch him if there was a game three. So the situation rolled out that we need to six outs and we rolled with.”

Eli Reeves was the winning pitcher for South, going two innings and allowing two hits, two runs and striking out one Viking Saturday.

Patriot designated hitter Dustin Corley started the seventh inning with a leadoff single to left-center field. Corley went two for four at the plate and scored on Yoho’s single later in the seventh.

Blake McMullen had two hits in five appearances, with an RBI double in the sixth. While Drew Cochran had two RBIs on two base hits.

South capitalized on Viking mistakes in both games, scoring six total runs on eight Viking errors. These mistakes have been the Viking’s season in a nutshell according to head coach Shane Casto.

“We kind of had a roller coaster season, when we are playing well and I would put my guys up against anybody I would,” Casto said, “But we had some trouble making routine plays all season. We gave up a lot of unearned runs and you can’t give teams extra outs especially in this time of year.”

Petersen was the losing pitcher after allowing seven hits and seven earned runs with three punchouts in 5 2/3 innings pitched.