ONA — Logan Lingenfelter was disappointed with his pitching on Wednesday, so he made up for it with his hitting on Thursday.
The Cabell Midland senior smacked a walk-off double to right field, scoring Ray Ray Williams with the winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning to give the Knights a 2-1 victory over Huntington High Thursday in a Class AAA, Region IV, Section 1 elimination game.
“They finally gave me a pitch to hit,” Lingfelter said of the fastball up and away. “I just went with it.”
A night earlier, Lingenfelter struggled on the mound in a 7-0 loss to Spring Valley. Top-seeded Cabell Midland (21-6) will entertain the third-seeded Timberwolves (22-9) at 6 p.m. Thursday in a first final. If the Knights win, the teams meet again at 6 p.m. Saturday. If Spring Valley is victorious, it wins the section championship.
The teams split two meetings this season, with Cabell Midland winning 6-1 on April 15.
“We have to play ball,” Cabell Midland coach Tracy Brumfield said. “We have to play one game and win it to get to the next one. There’s no looking ahead.”
Williams singled to center to start the winning rally. One out later, Curtis Ball chopped a ball to shortstop and barely beat the throw to first for an infield hit that sent Williams to second. Lingenfelter followed with an opposite-field double to end it.
“With the plays they’d been making in the outfield, I wasn’t sure whether to bring him,” Brumfield said of the speedy Williams. “I thought ‘what if he catches it?’ Fortunately it was hit well enough they couldn’t catch it.”
Williams’ run made a winner of reliever Kenyon Collins, who followed Noah Jordan, Aden McCormill and Jared Nethercutt to the mound. That quartet limited the No. 2-seeded Highlanders (18-11) to six hits.
“Our pitching stepped up,” Brumfield said. “Those guys came through when we had to have them.”
Cabell Midland took a 1-0 lead in the third when Collins reached on an error and scored on a single by Williams, who finished 2 for 5. Huntington High tied it in the sixth after Hayden Mattison singled to left, went to second on Jax O’Roark’s sacrifice, then scored on Braden Shepherd’s base hit to right.
That Shepherd was in the game at all was a testament to his grittiness. Four batters into the game, Lingenfelter lined a hard shot off Shepherd’s right leg, leaving him limping until he came out after pitching five innings.
“He’s a tough kid,” Brumfield said of Shepherd.” I knew he wouldn’t come out of the game. That’s the kind of player he is.”
Both teams squandered opportunities aplenty. The Highlanders left runners in scoring position in five different innings, including in the fourth, when they loaded the bases with two out. Cabell Midland escaped that situation when Austin O’Malley hit into a fielder’s choice, but a bigger play occurred earlier in the inning when Eli Shouldis flew out to left. The ball appeared as if it might drop for a hit, but Jack Eastone caught it and threw to first to double up Adam Hanlon, who had strayed too far toward second base to get back in time.
Cabell Midland left runners in scoring position in three separate innings, including the eighth, when it loaded the bases with one out, but Carson Carter worked out of the jam.
Isaac Petitt went 2 for 4 and walked twice for the Knights. Lingenfelter was 2 for 4. Noah Jordan was 2 for 3. For Huntington High, Lucas Conn was 2 for 3 with a walk and was hit by a pitch. Mattison was 2 for 4.
HUNTINGTON HIGH 000 001 000 — 1 6 2
CABELL MIDLAND 001 000 001 — 2 9 0
Shepherd, Carter (6) and Shouldis; Jordan, McCormill (5), Nethercutt (7), Collins (9) and Ball.
Hitting: (HH) Conn 2-3 , Mattison 2-4 2B; (CM) Petitt 2-4 Williams 2-5, Lingenfelter 2-4 2B, Jordan 2-3.