Rebels top Central in game 2, will play in decisive game 3 today

Photo by Tyler Bennett Ritchie County relief pitcher Dylan Taylor fires a pitch during the Rebels’ 3-2 regional tournament win over Wheeling Central Tuesday in Ellenboro.

ELLENBORO — Losing 10-0 to Wheeling Central in Monday’s opening game of the best-of-three regional tournament, Ritchie County rode behind the arms of starter Avery Taylor and Dylan Taylor in game two Tuesday.

The two Rebels allowed no runs into the bottom the seventh, winning 3-2 versus the Maroon Knights in a must-win game at Schofield and Butcher Field.

Scoreless up until the final ending, the Maroon Knights’ bats finally woke up.

Central started the seventh inning with back-to-back hits by Kyle Newmyer and Clay Slyder on the first pitches they saw from Dylan Taylor, the latter being a two-bagger by Slyder to plate Newmyer.

That RBI double was the last pitch Dylan Taylor threw before Ritchie County head coach Danny Vanoy turned to Dakota Wayne for the save.

Wayne got the next two batters to ground out. Slyder crossed home plate in the process to make it a one-run Rebel lead, but the comeback was denied as Angelo Gentile popped out to first base as Wayne picked up the save.

“We put some runs on the board tonight and the run support was just barely enough. But it worked out in our favor,” Vanoy said. “It was a big win. That’s what we needed to come back. We played good defense, the bases were pretty clean and played good defense behind the pitchers.”

Starting on the mound, Avery Taylor was tasked to keep the Rebels’ season alive for one more game. He did not disappoint.

The righty hurler pitched four quality innings, allowing no runs, two hits, one walk, two strikeouts, left four runners on base and was the winning pitcher for the Rebels.

Dylan Taylor pitched two innings, striking out two.

In the bottom of the first inning, Central starter Josh Custer walked the bases loaded before issuing another free pass to Dylan Taylor to make it 1-0.

Ritchie extended its lead to two runs in the bottom of the third when Tatem McCloy’s RBI single plated Zach Knight, who led off the inning with a double

Knight and McCloy had perfect games at the plate for the Rebels, each going 2 for 2 and drawing a walk. Knight also was hit by a pitch in the fourth.

Zach Cline made it a three-run lead on an RBI base hit in the bottom of the fifth.

Central missed scoring chances in the third and sixth innings.

Avery Lee drilled Avery Taylor’s pitch to deep center field in what looked to be an inside-the-park home run or at worst a triple in the third. Landing near the warning track, the ball took a bounce over the center field fence to limit Lee to a ground-rule double. Central was unable to bring him in.

Sonny Peluchette, the team leader with two hits and a double, hit his two-bagger off the right-center field wall in the top of the sixth, but was stranded on base.

Custer was the losing pitcher for Central, tossing three innings, walking six and allowing two runs.

Relief pitcher Ben Foster came out of the ‘pen in the bottom of the fourth and allowed one run, four hits and one strikeout.

“Those guys that came in shut us down completely and I’m really disappointed by our guys and the way they performed,” Wheeling Central coach Bo McConnaughy said. “Ritchie made the plays and they got the hits. You need good hitting, fielding and pitching to win ball games and that’s what they did.”

Game three will be played in Wheeling at 6 p.m. today.

“We are going to refocus and not taking anything for granted,” Vanoy said. “It’s what I told the boys after the game, at this time of year it’s anyone’s game. Anything can happen at any given day, you just gotta get out there and do your best.”