ONA — In a high school baseball game that featured 18 runs, 16 hits, 10 walks and four hit batters, defense saved the day.
Noah Jordan and Isaac Petitt made outstanding catches in the bottom of the seventh inning to stave off a Spring Valley rally and help Cabell Midland (22-6) to a 10-8 victory in the Class AAA, Region IV, Section 1 first final on Friday.
The teams meet for the championship at 2 p.m. on Saturday at Cabell Midland. The winner plays Hurricane (27-4), a 14-4 winner over Ripley on Friday, in the regional tournament.
With three runs already in, Spring Valley had Dylan Robertson on second and Garrett Wagoner on first with no one out when Cam Bailey smashed a fly ball to deep left field. Jordan covered at least 25 yards to make a running catch and send both runners scurrying back to their respective bases.
“Off the bat, I got a good read on it,” Jordan said of his catch.
Luke Stollings then came up and smacked a drive to deep center. Petitt raced back, losing his cap, and made a running catch to again send back the runners. Reliever Jackson Fetty then struck out Grant Stratton looking to end the game.
“Jordan and Isaac made two great plays,” Knights coach Tracy Brumfield said. “They saved at least two runs. The go-ahead run was at the plate. Jackson Fetty bulldogged it and brought the velocity.”
Stratton was not happy with the called third strike and protested, which was a secondary theme of the game. Umpires warned both teams about taunting the other several times and called on coaches to do the same with fans. A sheriff’s deputy was called on to quell the noise in the sixth inning.
The Knights never trailed, taking a one-run lead on a walk, consecutive hit batsmen and a fielder’s choice double play in the first inning.
Cabell Midland added six runs in the third thanks to two Timberwolves’ errors, a balk, a two-run double by Hunter McSweeney and an RBI single by Logan Lingenfelter.
Stollings drove in a run in the fourth to make it 7-1 in the fourth, but Spring Valley (22-10) closed within 7-5 in the top of the fifth as Branson McCloud slammed a three-run home run to right and Sammy Booth followed with a solo homer to left.
Cabell Midland answered back in the bottom of the fifth when Ray Ray Williams doubled in two runs and Petitt hit a sacrifice fly as the Knights extended their lead to 10-5.
Back came the Timberwolves in the seventh. Jacob Maynard and McCloud sandwiched walks around a Grant Shumaker single. Booth drew a walk to plate one run and Wagoner singled to drive in two more, setting up Jordan’s and Petitt’s heroics.
“We’ll let the cards fall where they fall,” Brumfield said of the title showdown. “It’ll be a battle. We’ll have to play our best ball.”
Petitt complimented Spring Valley and said the championship should be epic.
“We have to bring this energy tomorrow,” Petitt said. “It’s two good teams and should be a good game.”
SPRING VALLEY 000 140 3 — 8 10 2
CABELL MIDLAND 106 030 x — 10 8 0
Shy, Harbert (3), Dyer (3), Shumaker (4) and Smith; Collins, Nethercutt (4), Eastone (5), Fetty (7) and Ball.
Hitting: (SV) McCloud HR 3 RBIs, Booth 2-3 HR, Wagoner 2-4 2B 2 RBIs; (CM) Williams 2-4 2B 2 RBIs, Petitt 2-2 2B, Soward 2B, McSweeney 2-4 2B 2 RBIs.