Charleston Central wins West Virginia state title
HUNTINGTON -- While all their friends were probably in a deep sleep by 11:57 p.m., Tuesday, the Charleston Central age 9-10 Little League Baseball all-star team was still up.
No, they weren't hiding from their parents or causing a ruckus at some slumber party. Rather, they were at Huntington League 3, surviving what had become a marathon of a state semifinal game with Martinsburg.
"My son was in bed about 2 a.m. and got up about noon today," said Charleston Central coach David Wells on Wednesday.
And when Grant Wells along with the rest of his teammates arose, they had to quickly shake any fatigue stemming from Tuesday's curfew-threatening 7-6 thriller over Martinsburg and focus on Hurricane, the only team standing in their way for a trip to Mitch Stadium in Ceredo-Kenova and the Tournament of State Champions.
They did it.
Yawn-free, Charleston Central took down Hurricane, 8-5, on Wednesday night to take the West Virginia state title. Charleston Central will represent the Mountain State starting July 30 at Mitch Stadium.
"We got here for batting practice and basically did it real quick," Wells said of his team's preparations before Wednesday's 6:15 p.m. first pitch. "The tournament was wonderful getting the kids in the concession stand before the game, getting them in air conditioning. And that really helped.
"But they're all young, they were fine."
From the beginning, Wells's kids seemed on point and determined to cash in on the opportunity they earned just hours earlier in the semifinal.
After starter Patrick Tiffey retired Hurricane in order in the top of the first inning, the Charleston Central bats got going in the bottom of the frame, getting three runs, including Tiffey's two-RBI double.
But Hurricane, who also participated in a classic Tuesday night when it escaped Bi-State 2-1, came roaring back. Austin Dearing drilled a two-run home run to right-center to highlight a three-run second inning.
The difference, however, was the Charleston Central response.
In the bottom of the second, Charleston Central sent 10 batters to the plate and brought five home. Three on hits -- a pair of run-scoring knocks from Elias Miller and John Logan Taylor -- and the others on pure hustle -- Miller and Grant Wells both touched home after wild pitches.
"We did a really good job -- even yesterday versus Martinsburg -- of being aggressive on the basepaths," Coach Wells said. "We actually worked on that in practice with the kids. ... We scored a lot of runs on passed balls as far as stealing home. This is a real forgiving field so you can do that."
That second inning proved more than enough to allow Charleston Central to hang on even after Hurricane struck back with a run each in the third and the sixth innings.
.The Charleston Central win makes up for its 10-7 loss to Hurricane during Sunday's pool play.
The matchup itself just added another chapter to the District 3 rivalry.
"Hurricane and Charleston, from 7-year-olds all the way up," Coach Wells said. "Big rivalry."
HURRICANE 031 001 -- 5 9 1
CHARLESTON CENTRAL 350 00X -- 8 7 1
Dearing, Adkins (2), Dean (5) and Birthisel. Tiffey, Wells (5) and Taylor.
Hitting: (H) Vance RBI; Adkins RBI; Davis 2-4, 2B; Birthisel 2B; Muto 2-3; Dearing 2-3, HR, 3 RBIs. (CC) Miller 2B, RBI; Wells 2-3; Tiffey 2B, 2 RBIs.