Midland earns trip to state over Winfield
WINFIELD — Cabell Midland’s baseball team is headed to the state Class AAA tournament after winning the Region IV title Wednesday night at Winfield, 15-7.
Cabell Midland jumped on Winfield early, scoring 10 runs in the first three innings, while the Generals didn’t help themselves much in the early going.
“They had 10 runs on three RBI,” said Winfield head coach Will Isaacs. “Eight walks, a bunch of errors, that type of thing.”
That’s not to say Winfield handed the Knights the contest.
Cabell Midland got yeoman efforts from the likes of catcher Brady Elkins, who went 3-for-4 at the plate with 2 RBIs and scored three runs.
“Before the game, my coaches were saying ‘Watch the ball right as it’s at the pitcher’s face,’ and my dad told me the same thing,” Elkins said. “All the teammates got up and helped me out. I had some confidence problems early on in the year, but with them cheering me on I can do anything.”
Seth Kinker, a junior who has become the de facto team leader for Cabell Midland, said Elkins’ effort shows that the Knights are strong from top to bottom.
“We won 15-7 and I didn’t do anything until the sixth inning,” said Kinker, who was 2-for-4. “We just go out there and have fun and different guys step up at different times. Up and down the lineup we’re strong and we’ve got a lot of confidence. With a week to prepare for the state tournament we’re just going to get stronger.”
The state tournament is May 30 and June 1 at Appalachian Power Park in Charleston.
Cabell Midland brought in two runs in the top of the first inning, then Elkins led off the second with a single that was mishandled, allowing him to advance to third base.
At that point, Isaacs pulled starting pitcher Dana Harper and brought in Zachary Strong.
The thinking, Isaacs said, was that Harper could re-enter the game at a later point quicker than Strong.
But Strong’s first pitch went into the backstop and Elkins strolled in to score. Strong then walked the next three batters, and Cabell Midland brought in two more runs before the inning ended.
WInfield changed pitchers six times, including bringing Harper back in.
In hindsight, Isaacs said he probably took Harper out too early.
“The thought was to stop the bleeding at the first sign of trouble,” the coach said. “But yeah, I guess my crystal ball was a little fuzzy because of the weather.”
Winfield got a three-run homer from Jordan Clark in the bottom of the third to stave off the mercy rule that could have been inacted by the fifth inning, but the Generals never really seemed to threaten Cabell Midland, which rode pitcher Tyler Hayes for five innings and Derek Adkins for two.
Now the Knights turn their attention to trying to capture the state title.
“Our kids never quit all year long,” coach Tracy Brumfield said. “I told the kids if you want something like this it’s not going to be easy. It feels great but we’ve got two more games to play and we have to be ready to go.
“We have to play within ourselves, don’t try to go out and do anything different. We just have to dedicate ourselves for two more games.”
CABELL MIDLAND 235 003 2 — 15 11 0
WINFIELD 003 110 2 — 7 6 6
Hayes, Adkins and Elkins. Harper, Strong, Frye, Adkins, Harper, Wright and Douglas
Hitting: (W) Clark HR, 3 RBIs, Sneeringer, 2B, RBI, Bellomy 2-3, 2B; (CM) Elkins 3-4, 2 RBIs, 3 runs; Kinker 2-4, 2B, Tilley, 2-3, RBI.