Wolves knock out HHS
HUNTINGTON -- The only run support Spring Valley gave Elijah Wellman on Wednesday was a second-inning home run from Billy Evans.
But, the way Wellman was dealing on the mound, that run was plenty.
Wellman kept Huntington High off balance and Evans' home run held up as Spring Valley eliminated the Highlanders with a 1-0 win in the Class AAA, Region IV, Section 4 double-elimination baseball sectional at Cook-Holbrook Field.
Spring Valley moves into a best-of-three games series with Cabell Midland for the section title. Game one is 6 p.m., Thursday, at Huntington High.
"I had hoped we'd get about eight," Spring Valley coach Jim Hensley said. "We knew Huntington was a dangerous lineup and they could put runs up in bunches, but he (Elijah) wants the ball. He's pitched in so many close games, you knew he wanted the ball. You could see the determination."
Wellman worked efficiently with his fastball and breaking pitches, keeping the Highlanders guessing and, in many instances, walking back to the dugout.
The senior right-hander recorded two strikeouts in each of the first five innings with none bigger than those he recorded to end a threat in the fifth.
"A few times this year, I've started out great and today was one of those days," Wellman said. "You can definitely feel it's a sectional. These games matter 100 percent for what happens the next three or four days. There's definitely a lot more pressure here than any other regular-season game."
Huntington High's Jordan Turner led off the fifth inning with a double down the right-field line and the Highlanders got a sacrifice bunt from Nate Haikal to move Turner to third.
However, an unsuccessful squeeze attempt led to a strikeout for the second out of the inning before Wellman painted a knee-high fastball on the outside corner for his 10th strikeout to escape the jam.
"It just comes down to executing the bunt," Huntington High coach Danny Harbert said. "If we get a bunt down, this might be a different story."
It was the second time in as many innings the Highlanders had the tying run in scoring position.
In the fourth, Huntington High's Joey Mundy broke up Wellman's perfect game with a two-out infield single. A walk followed to push Mundy into scoring position, but a strikeout ended the threat.
The loss spoiled an outstanding effort on the mound from Huntington High's Kris Vancamp, who did not allow a hit following Evans' second-inning home run.
Vancamp allowed three hits and walked one while striking out three in the hard-luck loss.
"He pitched an unbelievable game -- his best of the year, honestly," Harbert said. "One little bounce off the fence and we might go extra innings. I was very proud of him."
Evans' home run came on the first pitch of the second inning and by the slimmest of margins. The line-drive shot hit the top of the fence in left-center and bounced over.
The shot came after the Timberwolves had threatened in the first inning with runners on second and third with one out. However, Vancamp escaped the damage by inducing a short fly ball to left field and a popout to first base.
It was the second one-run loss of the sectional for the Highlanders, who saw their season come to a close.
HUNTINGTON HIGH 000 000 0 - 0 2 1
SPRING VALLEY 010 000 x - 1 3 0
Vancamp and Shaver. Wellman and Radcliffe. W - Wellman. L - Vancamp.
Hitting: (HH) Turner 2B; Mundy 1-2; (SV) Evans HR, RBI; Wellman 1-2.