Midland boys shut out Highlanders 2-0
HUNTINGTON -- Last year, Cabell Midland's baseball season ended against Huntington High in a memorable way.
The Knights were unable to take care of fundamentals and protect a lead late as the Highlanders ended their season. While Cabell Midland coach Tracy Brumfield said his team isn't looking at last season, the Knights proved they learned from their mistakes in the first meeting between the teams since.
Cabell Midland played nearly flawless baseball in every facet en route to a 2-0 win over the Highlanders on Friday night at Cook-Holbrook Field.
The strong outing started on the mound for the Knights as Seth Kinker dominated the powerful Huntington High lineup. He scattered just three hits while striking out 10 in the complete-game effort.
Kinker was at his best when the game hit crunch time. He did not allow a baserunner in the final three innings and struck out the side in the seventh to end the contest.
"One through nine, they are so solid, but coming out in the seventh, I had all the momentum in the world," Kinker said. "The defense was playing great, they didn't have an error all night and our guys had gotten us some big hits. I had nothing to lose and I went and threw my heart out.
"I was just having fun out there. I always have fun when I throw. This is a fun game we play."
Kinker's counterpart on the mound -- Huntington High's Stephen Holland -- took the hard-luck loss despite having 13 strikeouts and allowing just six hits.
The biggest difference in the game was offensive execution at the plate when runners did get on base.
With both pitchers dominating, the victor was going to come down to who made the most of limited chances. On this night, that was Cabell Midland.
Both of the Knights' runs came on base hits following well-executed sacrifice bunts to move runners into scoring position.
In the third inning, Taylor Kuhn singled and advanced to second on a bunt down the first-base line by Eric Wooten. Jacob Beahrs followed with an RBI single to score Kuhn.
One frame later, Eli Canterbury led off with a single and advanced on a sacrifice by Brady Elkins. On an 0-2 count, Kuhn laced a double to score Canterbury with the game's final run.
"We got some big hits after guys got their sacrifices down," Brumfield said. "We're not talking anything about last year, but that's one thing we've really been focusing on -- making sure we get guys in scoring position."
The Highlanders came in as the top-ranked team in the state this week, but fell for the second time in two days in low-scoring affairs.
Huntington High coach Danny Harbert said his team did not play poorly, but they weren't aggressive at the plate against Kinker, who consistently stayed in the strike zone.
"Stephen came out and pitched a great game, but Midland came out swinging and we waited until the third or fourth to get aggressive," Harbert said. "By that time, it was almost too late. Our guys have to realize when you go against a guy like Kinker who throws a lot of strikes and is around the plate, you have to swing early instead of late. The hits we got were when we went after the first pitch."
Kuhn and Canterbury each finished with two hits for Cabell Midland.
In addition to the strong pitching performances, Kinker and Holland each added doubles.
Both teams return to action early on Saturday.
Huntington High hosts Chesapeake at noon while Cabell Midland travels to Hurricane for a matchup against another top Class AAA team at 11 a.m.
CABELL MIDLAND 001 100 0 -- 2 6 0
HUNTINGTON 000 000 0 -- 0 3 3
Kinker and Elkins. Holland and Shaver.
Hitting: (CM) Kinker 2B, Beahrs RBI; Canterbury 2-3; Kuhn 2-3, 2B, RBI. (HH) Holland 2B.