bluefield, va. — Carson Deeb turned in a complete game on Wednesday night, in more ways than one.
The Bluefield senior pitched a complete game, striking out seven batters, and laced a pair of triples at bat as the Beavers defeated the Wyoming East Warriors 13-3 in five innings in a Class AA Region 3, Section 1 tournament game at Bowen Field.
Deeb returned to the pitcher’s mound after a two-week absence engineered by his coaches. He wasn’t dominant on Wednesday, but he was definitely determined.
“He’s kind of taken the team on his shoulders,” said Bluefield head coach Jimmy Redmond, describing Deeb as “a very fierce competitor.”
“He started out not really 100 percent, (but) he got a feel for the strike zone again, and he started pumping it up there in the middle of the game.”
Deeb said, “I didn’t have any of my stuff today. None of my off-speed was working, I didn’t have any velocity, so I was just trying to put it in there and let the defense make plays.”
“It was just too much time off,” he said about his pitching break. “But it was good that I got one in, so the next time I pitch, I should be good to go.”
Redmond said, “That bulldog in him, he wanted to work through it. He gave up a couple of hits, and then he just wanted to finish it.”
Bluefield (23-3) got its offense going from the start, with its first three batters getting on base and scoring. The Beavers’ lead expanded to 7-1 in the second inning thanks to consecutive RBI hits from Hunter Harmon and Kerry Collins — and two errors by Wyoming East (15-12).
An additional couple of errors in the fourth stanza factored into another four-run outburst by Bluefield, which took an 11-1 lead into the fifth frame.
Wyoming East head coach Ron “Chief’ Mayhew said, “We make six errors. You’re not going to beat anybody (like that). You can’t give good teams like that extra outs.”
Luke Laxton pitched into the third inning for the Warriors, giving up six hits and recording three strikeouts. Mason Houck came on in relief.
Mayhew said, “Our pitchers didn’t pitch bad, either one of them. We just didn’t make any plays behind ‘em.”
Pinch hitter Jacob Riling and Tanner Whitten each scored in the Warriors’ half of the fifth, forcing Bluefield to bat in the bottom half in order to invoke the 10-run rule.
Brandon Wiley ended it by trotting home on Harmon’s single to shallow center with the bases loaded. It was the last of 10 hits by the Beavers.
Deeb said, “We hit the ball like we have all year long. It’s a lot easier pitching when your team is scoring over 10 runs than when they’re scoring one. So it’s really nice having a team that hits the ball like that.”
Redmond said, “We came out early and put up a bunch of runs … When we get on top, we play pretty good. It gives us a good bit of confidence.”
“Up and down the order, we were getting hits. (Ten hits) is pretty good against Wyoming East. And we ran the bases well. I thought we hit the ball solid; we hit the ball on the nose.”
Wiley and Harmon batted 2 for 4 on Wednesday. Harmon, Deeb and Caleb Fuller all had two-RBI nights.
The Beavers have now locked in a spot in the sectional championship game, which they will host at Bowen Field. The game is scheduled for Friday; a start time will be announced later.
Deeb said, “I’ve never played in a sectional championship, so I’m sure there’ll be nerves and stuff like that. But I’m excited.”
The Warriors will play today in a loser’s bracket game, with hopes of returning to face Bluefield again with the sectional crown on the line.
Mayhew said, “Hopefully, we’ll get the bats going tomorrow, and make a few plays, and beat whoever we have to play to get back up here.”
“It’s a pretty simple game,” the longtime baseball coach said. “You hit it, you catch it and you throw it. Tonight we didn’t hit it a lot, we didn’t catch it very often, but it is what it is. Tomorrow’s another day … .”