Chapmanville’s Tyler Killen (3) scores and is greeted at home plate by Joe Woody (13) in the Tigers’ win over the Tide on Tuesday night in the season opener.
CHAPMANVILLE — Jordan Banks and the Chapmanville Regional High School baseball team picked up right where they left off last season.
The Tigers, last year’s Class AA state champions, ripped the Sherman Tide 10-4 on Tuesday night at Chapmanville’s Ted Ellis Field in the 2012 season opener.
Banks, who pitched a one-hit shutout in Chapmanville’s 8-0 victory over Wyoming East in last year’s state championship game at Charleston’s Appalachian Power Park, was the starter and winner last night. The left-handed senior fired the first three innings and allowed just one hit and one run while striking out four and walking one.
At the plate, Banks also did some damage as he was 3-for-4 with three triples and two RBI to lead Chapmanville’s 12-hit attack.
Banks nearly ended the game early via mercy rule with a walk-off solo home run in the bottom of the fifth inning as he tattooed a ball off the right centerfield wall for a triple. He was stranded there, however, as the Tigers led 10-1.
Sherman was then able to prolong the game by scoring a pair of unearned runs off Chapmanville relief pitcher Tyler Cox in the top of the sixth after a trio of Tiger errors as CRHS emptied its bench. Sherman then added a run in the seventh but Cox was able to get the Tide out to end the game.
Chapmanville also got one shutout inning apiece from relief pitchers Dustin Conley and Nick Brumfield. Conley struck out the side in the fourth. Brumfield, a sophomore right-hander, fanned two and allowed just one hit in the fifth inning.
“We were a little sloppy at times but we saw a lot of positives,” Chapmanville coach Eric Ellis said. “I thought our pitchers threw the ball pretty well. We got a little sloppy at the end defensively. When you get a big lead like that sometimes kids tend to lose focus.”
Chapmanville hit the ball hard against Tide pitcher Jeff Walkup, who went the distance, allowing 10 runs and 12 hits to go along with his two walks, a hit batsman and five Ks.
Tiger third baseman Joe Woody went 2-for-4 with a triple. Cox added a two-run triple, while new left fielder Brady Cox had another triple and DH Tyler Collins had a double.
“I thought that we hit the ball very well the first three or four innings,” Ellis said. “The three triples by Banks is a pretty good way to start the season. The last triple in the fifth we saw the effects of the new bats this year. Last year, that ball would have been way out of here. The bat requirements have less speed and a smaller sweet spot. It’s basically a safer bat. The bats are different but I think that might help us because one of our strengths is going to be pitching.”
Ellis said Banks looked pretty sharp on the mound for a first outing.
“He was pretty good but we were glad to get the first game out of the way. The first game is usually a nightmare for coaches,” Ellis said. “You just don’t know what to expect and you’re happy that it’s over. Now we see some things that we need to work on.”
Chapmanville jumped ahead 2-0 in the bottom of the first as Banks and Woody had back-to-back RBI triples. The Tigers added a third run with a sacrifice fly to right by Collins.
The Tide made it 3-1 in the top of the second as Walkup walked, stole second and later scored on a wild pitch by Banks.
The Tigers upped their lead to 4-1 in the bottom of the second as Brock Dalton had a bunt single, went to third on Tyler Killen’s fly out to right and scored on an errant pickoff move to first after Tyler Cox was hit by a pitch.
Chapmanville then blew it open in the third by sending 10 batters to the plate and scoring six runs to make it 10-1.
Conley’s RBI single made it 5-1. Cox then ripped a two-run triple to the left centerfield wall to increase the margin to 7-1. Killen then had a slow roller down the third base line which was good enough to score a run to make it 8-1. Banks then had an RBI triple to the right field wall to up the margin to 9-1. Courtesy runner Tyler Neil then scored on a wild pitch for the 10th run.
Justin Mullins added a pinch-hit single for the Tigers.
John Hunter was 2-for-4 with an RBI double for Sherman.
The Tigers are back into action on Friday at home against Mingo Central at 7 p.m. in the first ever meeting between the Tigers the Miners on the baseball diamond.
Mingo Central, a first-year consolidated school made up of the former Gilbert, Williamson, Burch and Matewan high schools, will be in Chapmanville’s Class AA section this year with Scott.
“They’re a sectional opponent and we’ve got two days to practice,” Ellis said. “Hopefully we can correct some of the mistakes that we made tonight. I saw a lot of good things and I think that we’ve got a shot at being a really good team this year. We’ve just got some young guys that need to get a few reps.”
Tuesday was unseasonably warm with temperatures in the upper 80s.
At game time last night, it was still around 80 degrees.
In the past, Chapmanville’s openers in late March have been played on chilly nights typically in the 40s.
“It’s nice and it’s much better than being out here in winter coats and toboggans like we usually are,” Ellis said. “You can’t beat this weather and I hope that it sticks around.”
Tuesday night’s win was the 20th straight for the Tigers dating back to last season. Counting last year’s 35-3 mark, Chapmanville has now won 36 out of its last 39 ballgames.
“That’s pretty good and I’d like to keep this rolling but right now we’re focusing on Mingo Central,” Ellis said.