Knights fall in finals
CHARLESTON — It simply wasn't meant to be Saturday afternoon for the Cabell Midland Knights at Appalachian Power Park.
Cabell Midland out-hit Hedgesville, eight to five, but the Eagles from the Eastern Panhandle used a four-run fourth inning to earn the Class AAA baseball state championship with a 4-2 win over the Knights.
"They played a good game," Cabell Midland coach Tracy Brumfield said. "They hit the ball and came up in the one inning with four runs and we couldn't get it back."
Cabell Midland was unable to string together hits to produce runs after the first inning.
A dropped fly ball gave the Knights life with two outs in the seventh inning and Seth Kinker's single -- his fourth hit of the day -- put the tying run on base with cleanup hitter Bryton Jobe at the plate.
Jobe, who had an RBI double earlier in the game, hit a sharp grounder to Hedgesville's Hunter Knight for the final out.
The final out was indicative of the entire game for the Knights, who hit several other shots off of Hedgesville starter Derrick Snider right at the Eagles' fielders.
Kinker was 4-for-4 for Cabell Midland (23-11), who saw an 11-game winning streak end.
The performance was of little solace to the junior standout.
"We hit the ball well," Kinker said. "Obviously, I'm not happy, but I still have next year. I'm feeling it for the seniors right now. They had a big chance to do something and unfortunately, we didn't hit the ball at the best of times. It really hurts."
The game came down to one inning -- and in the Knights' case, an inning they wish they could have back.
Cabell Midland starter Tyler Hayes rolled through the first three innings, but ran into control issues in the fourth. A leadoff hit by Daniel Heleine and walks to Troy Markley and Cody Butts loaded the bases with no outs before Tyler Anders ripped a single up the middle that scored a pair of runs to tie the game.
An RBI groundout to first by Cameron Jordan preceded a balk by Hayes and RBI single by Adam Ruppenthal that pushed the lead to 4-2 and pushed Hayes out of the game.
"He got the ball up in the zone just a little bit and they made us pay for that," Brumfield said. "We knew going in that they were a good hitting team and we had to keep the ball down in the zone and hit our spots. They made us pay a couple of times."
Derek Adkins came on in relief for Cabell Midland and induced a groundout and strikeout to end the threat, but the Eagles were able to change the game's momentum.
Adkins gave up just two hits in three innings of work while striking out five. Hayes ended the game allowing just three hits, but surrendering three walks while striking out six.
It was Hayes' first loss of the season on the mound.
Prior to the fourth, Cabell Midland had been in control after putting up a pair of runs on the board for Hayes before he ever took the mound. An error on an in-between hop at third base preceded back-to-back RBI doubles by Kinker and Bryton Jobe.
Kinker laced a two-strike pitch into the left-field corner off of Snider before Jobe followed with an RBI double past the first-base bag to plate Kinker.
The Knights had chances to tack on more runs in the inning, and Brumfield cited those missed early opportunities as part of the difference in the game.
"We should have put two or three more up in the first innings," Brumfield said. "We didn't execute early and we definitely could've used those runs late."
For Hedgesville (29-7), Anders finished 2-for-2 with the two-run single and a double.
Snider finished the complete-game win, allowing eight hits and two runs while walking two and striking out three.
CABELL MIDLAND 200 000 0 -- 2 8 0
HEDGESVILLE 000 400 x -- 4 5 2
Hayes, Adkins (4) and Elkins. Snider and Anders.
Hitting: (CM) Kinker 4-4, 2B, RBIs; Jobe 2B, RBI. (H) Anders 2-2, 2B, 2 RBIs; Jordan RBI; Ruppenthal RBI.