By Tom Bone
For The Register-Herald
An ace beats a not-so-full hand.
The No. 1 pitcher for Princeton, senior Bo Williams, held Woodrow Wilson to three singles on Friday evening at Hunnicutt Field, and the Tigers offense took advantage of six Flying Eagles errors in a 9-2 Princeton win.
Princeton (7-6) head coach Josh Wilburn said, “It’s one of those things, I think, that comes down to pitching performances. We’re really confident in Bo, when he’s on the mound, that we can go out and get a win.”
“Woodrow’s always been a rival,” Williams said, “but I wanted to go out and pitch like I always do — stay calm, and throw the heat.”
“Our defense really let us down today,” Woodrow Wilson head coach Mark Daniel said. “Princeton hit the ball and put it in play. We’ve got to field it, and we didn’t field it today.”
The Flying Eagles coach said, “We had mis-communication on a couple of fly balls. We had some guys out of position today, but that’s no excuse. A couple of them proved they weren’t ready to move up.”
Williams had his heat going early on a cool evening. He struck out three of the first seven batters he encountered, allowing one base runner when Bent Osborne drew a base on balls to start the second inning.
Princeton staked their pitcher to a 1-0 lead in the first. Leadoff batter Bryson Allen got things started with a single to right, and the outfielder committed the first of the visitors’ half-dozen errors.
Andrew Wilson then got Allen home with a hard-hit single.
The Tigers scored four more runs in the second. The first batter, Nick Janutolo, struck out swinging but the ball got away from the catcher and Janutolo took first. After Williams struck out, Allen faced Woodrow Wilson starter Hunter Greco.
Allen hit the first pitch back at Greco. It hit the pitcher’s leg, and he fell forward onto the mound and stayed there while the ball trickled across the infield.
Greco was done for the day. Daniel reported afterward that the ball missed the kneecap of his senior go-to pitcher, and that Greco was going to be all right.
Daniel said, “He’s walking around on (the leg), but I’m sure he’s going to wake up tomorrow and it’s going to be sore. He’s probably a couple of days away from getting back in it.”
Wilburn said, “We knew coming in that if we saw Greco, we had to be on our game. He’s a real good pitcher.”
Wilson drew a walk from new pitcher Logan Wriston to load the bases. Ian Southcott hit an infield grounder and the third baseman threw back to the plate, but again, the ball eluded the catcher and two runs scored.
Chris Otey’s single to right plated two more runners and increased the Tigers’ lead to 5-0 after two frames.
Daniel said about Wriston, “He may not have been really loose, to come in that inning, but I thought he pitched well.”
Wriston tossed three innings and Chris Metrick handled the last two.
The Flying Eagles tallied their first run in the fourth. Wriston led off with a walk and scored when Metrick floated a hit into shallow right that a couple of Princeton fielders lost in the sunlight streaming in at a low angle.
Princeton third baseman Josh Perry closed the door on the Beckley offense with a double play. He snagged a line drive from David Rose and fired to first, catching Metrick off base and recording the third out.
The Tigers scored three more runs in their half of the fourth, powered by some two-out hitting. Southcott singled and Addison Wood and Will Hickman stroked RBI doubles.
Southcott again got to first in the sixth inning via the game’s final error, and Wood brought him home with a single to right.
Williams had finished his pitching chores in the top of the sixth. He struck out nine batters and walked three. The first of the three singles he gave up was an unexpected bunt by Dakota Bowyer to begin the third inning.
“You always want a no-hitter,” he said, “but after that happened, I thought ‘I can go out and not worry about a no-hitter now; just go out and pitch.’ ”
Wilburn said, “He threw a great game, (and) we made the routine plays behind him. He threw a lot of strikes.”
Bryce Peek pitched the final inning. The Beckleyans greeted him with three straight singles, and Bowyer’s knock scored Metrick with the final run. Metrick was 2 for 3 in the contest.
For Princeton, Allen and Wood were 2 for 4 and Southcott scored three times.
Wilburn said, “Where we’ve been struggling a bit is being consistent at the plate. ... They’re getting it; it’s just taking longer than we expected.”
“We capitalized on their (Woodrow Wilson’s) mistakes,” the Princeton coach said. “We put the ball in play. We were competitive at the plate, even against Greco.”
Woodrow Wilson, which was coming off a 5-2 win on Thursday evening at South Charleston, plays at George Washington on Monday before hosting Shady Spring on Tuesday.
“We haven’t played a home game all year,” Daniel said. “We’ve been rained out, snowed out, every game. We’ve practiced outside one day. We’ve played 12 games, all 12 of them on the road. That’s just West Virginia in March and early April.”
“But we’ll try to get them in.”
The Tigers host Oak Hill on Tuesday and Greenbrier East on Wednesday.
— E-mail: tbone@
WW 000 100 1 — 2 6 6
P 140 301 x — 9 8 0
WW: Hunter Greco, Logan Wriston (2), Chris Metrick (5) and Dakota Bowyer, Dylan Foster (5). P: Bo Williams, Bryce Peek (7) and Addison Wood. WP — Williams. LP — Greco.