HHS comes back
HUNTINGTON -- For six innings, Ripley's left-handed starting pitcher Easton Berry was in the heads of Huntington High batters, holding a 5-2 lead going into the bottom of the seventh inning.
That's when Ripley brought in Trevor Tucker to try and close the game out. Three walks, two hits and three errors later, the Highlanders were celebrating at home plate, having come from behind to win 6-5 in the Mountain State Athletic Conference baseball matchup.
"That lefty did a nice job of mixing up curve balls and off-speed stuff and last night we faced (Cabell Midland's) Seth Kinker, who threw a lot of fast balls, so he had us messed up and off our rhythm. We were off balance," Huntington High coach Danny Harbert said. "Then in the seventh, (Tucker) had a hard time locating his pitches and gave up a couple of walks and that gave us some momentum, then we got the bat on the ball two times and made some plays."
With the Highlanders down to their last out, shortstop Joey Mundy hit a screamer into right-center, that was then misplayed by the outfielder after it had dropped in. That brought in Ben Haikal and Hunter Smith to tie the game.
Mundy stood up at third base and did the Florida Gator chomp not realizing that the ball had been hurled over the third baseman's head and into the outfield trying to get Mundy out.
With his entire team screaming at him, Mundy eventually realized what had happened and made the dash home to score the winning run.
"I was yelling pretty hard," Harbert said. "It happened so fast. But the one thing we can take from this is that we need to keep the intensity up no matter who we're playing."
Before the play, Huntington High had already cut the lead to two runs, with Haikal delivering an RBI single then advancing on an error in the outfield similar to the one that occurred on Mundy's hit.
Harbert said he was most impressed with his senior starting pitcher, Smith, who kept the Highlanders in the game after Ripley jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first three innings.
"He could have thrown in the towel, but he's a senior and the leader of this team and he stayed mentally tough through all those innings," Harbert said. "With that kind of leadership, I love seeing our team battle and come back in a game like that and win it for this guy, because he works his butt off in practice and loves this game."
Smith said he just tried to keep throwing strikes and trust his defense.
"I was hitting my spots and just hoping something would come around," Smith said. "We fought through it and came through in the clutch. This is one of the tightest teams I've ever been on. I think we're all mentally tired, but to come around at the end of the game, I think that shows the heart of our team."
RIPLEY 202 010 0 -- 5 7 5
HUNTINGTON HIGH 000 200 3 -- 6 7 3
Berry (6) T. Tucker and Wentz; Smith and Shaver.
Hitting: (R) T. Tucker 2-4, 2 runs, Koontz 2-3, 3 RBI; (H) Mundy 2-3, 2 RBI, B. Haikal 2-3, RBI.