South rally falls short in Region IV, Section 1 championship game

Ripley first baseman JT Kemp stretches as far as he can to get the throw from shortstop Lance Casto just in time to get Parkersburg South’s Drew Yanok on a slow roller during the second inning of Thursday’s Class AAA, Region IV, Section 1 championship game. The Vikings held off the Patriots, 8-5. Photo by Jay W. Bennett.

RIPLEY — Dane Petersen pitched into the seventh inning, leadoff hitter Remy Boyce had three hits and JT Kemp knocked in two runs as host Ripley held off Parkersburg South here Thursday evening to win the Class AAA, Region IV, Section I championship by an 8-5 score.

The Vikings (18-10) of skipper Shane Casto led 7-0 after four innings, but allowed four runs in the top of the seventh before holding on for their third straight sectional championship.

Ripley now moves on to the best-of-three regional format starting on Monday, May 22.

“I like the new format and I’m excited for it,” said Ripley all-stater Anthony Jarvis, who was intentionally walked twice, but smashed an RBI double off the top of the wall in center during the fourth frame.

As far as making things interesting in the end, Jarvis added that “every game we got to give coach Casto a couple more grey hairs. But I mean, it feels great to win a sectional.

“We all know that we have two more plaques to win and that’s our goal at the end of the day. We’ll take this sectional and cheer a little bit, but we go back to work next week when we get ready for that regional championship.”

Parkersburg South (21-8) batted around in the seventh and Petersen was lifted after leadoff man Todd Burner reached on an error and Dalton Wiggins walked. Another Viking infield error allowed Bryce Eagle to reach, which made it an 8-2 affair when Burner crossed. Reece Fletcher added an RBI groundout and Hunter DeLong had a run-scoring single. Following a two-out RBI double to center by Drew Yanok, it was 8-5 and the Patriots had runners on second and third. However, Rocky Ford got Nick Yoho to hit a sharp one-hopper to second and Boyce was able to make the play to seal the triumph.

“A few more grey hairs (pointing toward his beard) and a lot less up here (touching his head), so I’m going to look like my dad before too long,” coach Casto quipped when he was told about Jarvis’ comments. “We did enough early and we came out of the gates swinging and got some big hits.

“Remy had two doubles and JT had a big hit, which was good for him. That’s his buddies and he grew up with them. I was happy for him. The first two times we played them he struggled a little bit and I think he probably put too much on himself. It was good to see him be able to come out of the gate and get a couple hits right off the bat..”

Indeed that was the case as the ex-Patriot Kemp mashed an RBI double in the first off losing pitcher Garrett Bonnett that plated Lance Casto. Ford’s RBI single followed for a 2-0 cushion.

Boyce, who finished 3 for 4 with three runs scored, got things going in the third with his leadoff stand-up two-bagger. After Jarvis was intentionally walked, Kemp came through again with an RBI knock to right.

Ripley’s three-run fourth was highlighted by a Boyce RBI hit and Jarvis’ near round-tripper. The Vikings tacked on an insurance run in the seventh when Boyce doubled again and scored on a Patriot error.

“That senior group they worked extremely hard to get to where they ended up,” said Patriot head man Matt Null. “They worked hard for four years and you got kids who played year-round baseball and kids who worked out in the offseason — ran, hit, throw all year around. There were some guys that when they came in as freshmen, they were 110 pounds and 5-foot-5 and ended up being 6-foot-2 and 170 pounds.

“They did an awesome job. I’m really proud of that group and I’m proud of these kids. They are just good kids. We have a 3.7 GPA as a team and they are some of the best kids in the school. Their parents raised them right, good families and they represented our school and our community in exemplary fashion.”