By Paul Adkins
CHAPMANVILLE — Given the success of the Chapmanville Regional High School baseball team this season, its No. 2 state ranking and its dominance over the Scott Skyhawks this spring, most thought the sectional tournament would be a fait accompli.
A two-game sweep.
Scott, however, turned West Virginia post-season baseball on its ear with Tuesday afternoon’s shocking 7-6 upset over the Tigers on Election Day in the Class AA sectional tournament opener at Chapmanville’s Ted Ellis Field.
The Skyhawks wrap up Tuesday’s sectional win. (Video by Paul Adkins)
Scott (15-13) moved to within one game of advancing to the upcoming regional tournament and sending the Tigers home early.
Game 2 is scheduled to be played on Wednesday night at the Scott High School baseball field in Madison. Game time is set for 6 p.m.
All is not over for the Tigers, however.
If Chapmanville (23-4) wins tonight, the Tigers would force a winner-take-all Game 3 on Thursday at 6 p.m. back at “The Ted.”
Tuesday’s result was still a stunner.
The Skyhawks have been up and down all season and lost twice to Chapmanville — 8-2 at home on April 21 and 16-6 on April 5 at Chapmanville.
Scott jumped on top of the Tigers and starting pitching Chris Bailey by scoring four runs in the top of the first inning to take a 4-0 lead.
The outburst was helped along by a close play at the plate in which Chapmanville tried to cut down a runner on a force play. More on that later.
Chapmanville eventually fought back, plating two runs in the bottom of the second and two more in the third to forge a 4-4 tie.
Scott went ahead 6-4 with two in the fourth and the Tigers answered with two runs in the last half of the fifth, tying it up with Adam Vance’s two-run double to center field.
The Tigers’ Adam Vance hits a two-run double in the fifth inning to tie the game up 6-6. (Video by Paul Adkins)
The Skyhawks then scored the eventual game winner in the top of the seventh with third baseman Easton Cook’s RBI single to right field to make it 7-6.
Scott’s Easton Cook comes up with an RBI single in the top of the seventh to give his team a 7-6 lead. It proved to be the game winner. (Video by Paul Adkins)
Scott starting pitcher Austin Wheatley then got the Tigers out in the bottom of the seventh to preserve the win. Wheatley went all seven innings, yielding six runs and 13 hits with no strikeouts and no walks. Bailey also pitched seven innings and gave up seven runs on 10 hits with three strikeouts, three walks and a hit batter.
Chris Bailey strikes out Scott’s Carter Lyles. (Video by Paul Adkins)
Third baseman Josh Zigmond led Chapmanville as he was 3-for-4. Center fielder Jacob Dingess was 2-for-4 with a double. DH Jash Bazzilla was 2-for-3 with a double and one RBI. First baseman Adam Vance was 2-for-2 with three RBI.
Chapmanville’s Josh Zigmond singles in the fifth inning. (Video by Paul Adkins)
Chapmanville’s Adam Vance singles in the fourth inning. (Video by Paul Adkins)
Alex Berry and Tyler Shannon added RBI singles for Chapmanville. Noah Dingess and Bailey each had hits for CRHS.
Scott was led by Wheatley who was 3-for-3 with a run knocked in. Leadoff man and shortstop Nathan Kuhn was 2-for-5. First baseman Caden Buckner was 2-for-4 with two RBI. Nathan Ramsey, Adam Epling and Easton Cook all had one hit. Epling and Cook had one RBI each. Andrew Prince also had an RBI.
It all started in the top of the first for Scott as Kuhn led off with a single, Ramsey walked and Epling had a bunt single as the Skyhawks loaded up the bases with nobody out.
Then with Price up, the Scott center fielder tapped one to the right of the mound. Chapmanville pitcher Bailey fielded, wheeled and fired home to catcher Ryan Craddock for the forceout.
Home plate umpire Terry Joe Harrison had ruled Craddock’s foot was not touching the plate and a sliding Kuhn was ruled safe as Scott led 1-0.
Chapmanville head coach Eric Ellis protested and Chapmanville fans voiced their displeasure but the call stood.
Harrison endured many cringeworthy verbal insults from Chapmanville fans periodically the rest of the game and even afterwards. Coincidentally, the fans were unaware that Harrison’s call was the right one as photographic evidence proved.
Scott’s Garrett Napier hits into an inning ending force out in the fifth inning after home plate umpire Terry Joe Harrison feels the love from Chapmanville Regional baseball fans. (Video by Paul Adkins)
Scott tacked on three more runs in the first inning with Buckner’s two-run double and Wheatley’s sacrifice fly to left.
Chapmanville cut it to 4-2 in the bottom of the second. Zigmond led off with a single, Bazzilla doubled and Shannon delivered a no-out RBI single to left. Vance followed with an RBI sac fly to right.
Then in the third, the Tigers tied it 4-4 with a pair of runs. Noah Dingess and Bailey led off with back-to-back singles. Berry’s RBI single made it a one-run game. Bazzilla then lifted a sac fly to center to tie it up.
Scott then went back on top in the fourth inning.
Garrett Napier led off with a line shot in the hole at short which was caught by a diving Berry.
Kuhn was then safe on an error. He stole second base and Ramsey followed with a bunt single.
Scott’s Nathan Kuhn is safe on an error in the fourth inning. (Video by Paul Adkins)
Nathan Kuhn steals second base in the fourth inning. (Video by Paul Adkins)
Scott’s Nathan Ramsey has a bunt single in the fourth inning. (Video by Paul Adkins)
Then with runners at the corners, Ramsey broke for second base. Chapmanville catcher Craddock, however, fired down toward second. CRHS pitcher Bailey deflected the toss with his mit in an attempt to cut off the throw. The ball squirted loose and Kuhn scored on the error.
The Skyhawks’ Nathan Kuhn scores on a Chapmanville error as Scott leads 5-4. (Video by Paul Adkins)
Scott then made it 6-4 with Epling’s sac fly to left.
Adam Epling’s sacrifice fly to left in the fourth inning gave Scott a 6-4 lead. (Video by Paul Adkins)
Vance’s two-run double to right field tied it at 6 in the bottom of the fifth inning.
The Skyhawks then scored the go-ahead and eventual game-winning run in the seventh.
Price led off with a walk. Wheatley had a bloop single to right and Cook’s RBI single to right put Scott up for good.
Chapmanville put a runner on in the bottom of the seventh as Zigmond reached with an infield single.
Wheatley, however, got Bazzilla to foul out behind the plate on a pop up and got Shannon to fly out to right field to end the game.
The Tigers’ Conner Mullins advances a runner with a sacrifice bunt in the fourth inning. (Video by Paul Adkins)