Knights edge Redskins, 1-0
HURRICANE -- Cabell Midland senior outfielder Jacob Beahrs had been in enough baseball rivalry games with Hurricane to know exactly what to expect on Monday night.
Beahrs watched as his best friend -- Knights pitcher Seth Kinker -- was throwing a gem and keeping the Redskins' hitters off balance.
Still, the Knights had not been able to deliver a run for Kinker and the game went into extra innings.
That's when Beahrs got his chance to help his best buddy -- and he delivered.
Beahrs' two-out RBI single down the right-field line scored Cole Tilley in the top of the eighth inning and Kinker shut the door on Hurricane in the bottom of the eighth to give Cabell Midland a 1-0 victory in the Class AAA, Region IV semifinal at Lola Meeks Field.
"Coach tells us all the time, if you go 1-for-5, maybe that one hit is the difference," Kinker said. "Think Beahrs ended up 1-for-4, but he's our difference-maker. He did a great job and I couldn't be happier for him. He's a great kid, he's my best friend and I love him to death. For him to do that in that situation, it was just perfect."
Prior to Beahrs' looping single, Tilley had opened the door for the opportunity with a perfectly placed bunt that forced Hurricane pitcher J.T. Rogoszewski to rush his throw. The throw went into right field, allowing the freshman to advance to second base.
It was the second consecutive game against Hurricane that the freshman had an integral role in the Knights' beating the Redskins. He also had a two-run single in the Mountain State Athletic Conference championship that Cabell Midland won, 4-2.
"Gosh, that bunt was perfect," Kinker said. "It couldn't have been in a better spot. It seems like every time he gets up there against Hurricane. He does something spectacular. The freshie's going to play and he loves it."
Despite going to extra innings, the game ended in just less than two hours. And while Tilley scored the lone run, there was plenty of excitement.
After Cabell Midland took the lead, Hurricane's Zach Pate got a leadoff single to open the bottom of the eighth inning and give the Redskins a great scoring chance with the top of the order coming to the plate.
Leadoff hitter Trey Dawson came up swinging - a move that caught Kinker off-guard as he charged in toward the plate on his first pitch. After seeing that, Kinker settled back in on the mound and got a pivotal strikeout for the first out of the inning - the game's most crucial out.
Hurricane coach Brian Sutphin said his confidence in Dawson's ability to swing the bat was the main reason he had him swinging instead of trying to sacrifice Pate over.
"When you have that much confidence in your group and Pate leads off the eighth with a single, I didn't have any question we were going to score," Sutphin said. "I thought Trey's a guy you want up swinging in that situation.
"You've got the first baseman holding the runner and he's a clutch kid. We have a lot of guys like that. With that big of a hole on the right side, he's good at going the other way."
Following the out, Kinker turned up the heat on Hurricane. He got Alexander Dunham to pop out to first baseman Cody Ballengee on a hit-and-run when Pate had to scramble back to the bag, then struck out Riley Metz with a fastball to end the game.
"You think of Hurricane baseball and you think of Riley (Metz)," Kinker said. "He's a great player. I've played against him since I was 14. I know what he can do and I expect him to hit the ball hard. I threw him two fastballs in and he fouled them off. The adrenaline got to me and I just blew it by him."
It was Kinker's 11th strikeout. He hit four batters, but allowed just two hits and only two balls left the infield.
"I have all the confidence in the world in Kinker," Beahrs said. "He's my best friend. We've been through it in golf and baseball our whole lives. He's just clutch. He steps up in big games."
Rogoszewski also pitched a gem for the Redskins, striking out nine and scattering five hits.
"When you're the home team and you throw seven zeroes up there, you expect to win," Sutphin said. "They didn't have many opportunities, but the one that they had, they took advantage of it. We struck out more than we have all year.
"At the end of the night, we just never got the big hit. It wasn't a matter of effort or want-to. I just think our guys were pressing a little bit."
The Knights move on to the region final Wednesday against Winfield, who defeated Logan on Monday. The winner advances to the state tournament.
CABELL MIDLAND 000 000 01 -- 1 5 0
HURRICANE 000 000 00 -- 0 2 1
Kinker and Elkins. Rogoszewski and Brock.
Hitting: (CM) Beahrs RBI; Kinker 2B.