By Cam Huffman
Tied 3-3 with rival Shady Spring in the Class AAA Region 3, Section 1 baseball tournament Saturday afternoon, Woodrow Wilson was looking to find a run to secure a victory and avoid an elimination game against Oak Hill later that evening.
Beckley (17-9) found that crucial run when Shady pitcher Franklin Buckner fielded a bunt and his throw went into the outfield, allowing Logan Wriston, who began the inning with a double down the left field line, to score the go-ahead run.
The Flying Eagles then added 10 more.
In total, Woodrow plated 11 runs on six hits, two walks and three Tiger errors in the final frame, running away with a 14-3 victory.
“We bounced back after the first couple of innings and swung the bats well,” said Woodrow Wilson head coach Mark Daniel. “(Innings like that) happen. Sometimes the ball falls in and it takes you a long way.”
Up until that fateful inning for Shady, the Tigers had played well.
Down 2-0 in the bottom half of the fourth inning when play began on Saturday — the two teams were washed out Friday night after the Flying Eagles scored a pair of early runs and picked up Saturday where they left off — Shady quickly tied things up, scoring a pair of runs in its first at-bat.
Drew Green drove in the first run with a single down the left field line, and Jacob Childers was responsible for the other when he singled to right off Woodrow’s Logan Wriston — who started on the mound Saturday after Hunter Greco pitched three hitless innings on Friday — to tie the game at 2-2.
“The kids came right out focused and did a pretty good job getting us back into it,” said Shady Spring head coach David Shaw.
That’s the way it stayed until the top of the sixth, when Beckley finally jumped back on top.
Jacoby Webb was hit by a pitch and then stole second, and he came home on an Andrew Johnson RBI-single to right that gave the Flying Eagles a 3-2 lead.
Shady quickly responded, though, plating a run on a Childers RBI-single to center field in the bottom half of the sixth, and the two rivals entered the final inning tied at 3-all with tension, as well as rain drops and dark clouds, filling the air.
Woodrow’s explosion in the seventh came with a little help from the Tigers.
Wriston’s leadoff hit was solid, but he was aided by some wet grass, which slowed the ball down the left field line and enabled the Flying Eagle junior — who had left the mound and moved to center field by that point — to take second before the left fielder Brandon Thompson could get to the ball and make a throw.
Brent Osborne grounded to shortstop on the ensuing at-bat, but Shady’s Green had to throw over a ducking umpire, and first baseman Adam Carr couldn’t handle the toss on the other end.
The error put runners on first and second with nobody out. Halstead came to the plate trying to advance the runners, but Buckner, the Shady pitcher, fielded the sacrifice attempt quickly and spun to try to cut down the lead runner at third.
His throw went into the outfield, and Wriston trotted home, much to the delight of the Beckley dugout.
Metrick then broke the game open with a hard single to center field that scored a pair and put Woodrow ahead 6-3.
Nothing went right for Shady from there. Another error, three more walks, several stolen bases and a two-RBI single off Halstead’s bat allowed the Flying Eagles to send 16 hitters to the plate that inning.
It took three Shady pitchers to finally sit the Flying Eagles down, and by that time it was much too late.
“We imploded,” said Shaw. “We had all three outs available to us early and could have kept the game down, but we didn’t make the plays. You can’t give people extra chances. They capitalized on it.”
n n n
Results of the evening’s late game between Oak Hill and Shady Spring were not available at press time.
The winner of that game will have to beat the Flying Eagles twice to win the title.
They games will be played on Thursday, because there are no games allowed before then because of testing.
“It’s a good feeling for us,” said Daniel. “We should be able to rest our pitchers and come back ready to go on Thursday.”
n n n
Weather had an impact on other games around the area, as well.
The Class AA Region 3, Section 3 tournament between PikeView and James Monroe was washed out. The completion of the suspended game, which began Friday, will be played Thursday in Gardner.
Greenbrier East and Princeton were set to play the final game of a three-game Region 3, Section 2 series Saturday in Fairlea, but rain moved that game to Thursday, as well. The teams split the first two games in Princeton Thursday night.
— E-mail: chuffman
@register-herald.com and follow on Twitter @CamHuffmanRH.
WW: 0200 0111 — 14 11 1
SS: 000 2010 — 3 6 3
WW: Hunter Greco, Logan Wriston (4) and Brandon Chandler (6) and Daniel Rose SS: Ryan Snodgress, Buckner (5) Jacob Childers (7) and Brendan Schack. WP — Chandler. LP — Buckner Hitting — WW: Logan Wriston 4-5 (2B, 2 RBIs), Hunter Halstead 1-5, Chris Metrick 3-4 (2B, 2 RBIs), Dakota Bowyer 1-3, Andrew Johnson 1-2 (RBI), Brandon Chandler 1-2 (2 RBIs) SS: Brandon Thompson 1-3, Drew Green 1-3 (RBI), Adam Carr 1-2 (2B), Michael Hill 1-2, Jacob Childers 2-2 (RBI), Jordan Palchesko 1-2.
Records: Woodrow Wilson (17-9)