Fairmont comes back, beats Ceredo-Kenova
BECKLEY -- It was a simple correction, but once Fairmont made it the team had the formula to success.
Down two runs, Fairmont struggled against Ceredo-Kenova left-handed pitcher Daniel Brandon until fine-tuning its approach. That simple change fueled Fairmont to a 7-4 come-from-behind quarterfinals victory during the Little League Baseball age 11-12 state tournament Tuesday evening at the Beckley Little League Complex.
"To be honest with you, the adjustments I told them to make this game was they were swinging at bad pitches," Fairmont coach Brent Hall said. "I told them to just go up there and let them balls go and hit a pitch that you can hit. When they settled down and started swinging at the balls they can handle, we started hitting the ball pretty good."
Fairmont's Michael Gaskill provided his team's first runs on a two-out, three-run home run in the third inning.
It was a big blast for Fairmont, something Gaskill has been doing on a regular basis of late.
"In the district championship he hit a walk-off homer to win the game, and the other night Hedgesville tied us 3-3 and he hit a two-run homer to give us a 5-3 lead in that game," Hall said. "He seems to always come up when we need him. He seems to always step up and hit a home run."
The third-inning homer appeared to give Fairmont the confidence it needed against Brandon, a crafty lefty.
"We don't see a lot of lefties in our district or in our league, so it took a little adjustment time for us," Hall said. "That pitcher from C-K was tough. He was a good pitcher."
Fairmont scored in each of its final four at-bats.
After Jacob Bolander ripped an RBI double in the fourth, Angelo Hall led off the fifth with a solo home run to go ahead 5-2. Austin Kuhn laced an RBI single in the inning to add another run.
David McQuain started on the mound for Fairmont and allowed two runs before giving way to relief pitcher Cam Stewart in the second inning.
Stewart struck out nine batters in relief and surrendered two runs, both in the fifth inning.
Ceredo-Kenova started strong with two runs in the first, but its bats couldn't quite replicate the same rhythm thereafter.
Though C-K took the lead early, Hall said he never doubted his team had the fight to make the necessary adjustments and overcome the deficit.