Tigers hope to rally back against Scott
by Paul Adkins
CHAPMANVILLE — There’s an easy way and a hard way.
The Chapmanville Regional High School baseball team is going to have to do it the hard way.
Down 1-0 in the best-of-three game Class AA sectional tournament series against rival Scott, the Tigers must now beat the Skyhawks two straight games, including one of those on the road, in order to win the section title.
Chapmanville, ranked No. 10 in the state in Class AA this week, is seeking its fifth straight sectional title over Scott.
The Tigers (21-8) lost 5-4 to Scott last Thursday night in the first game of the section tourney at Madison. Due to rainy weather it took four days just to play the game. The contest originally started way back on Monday, May 6 but the game was suspended due to rain with the Tigers leading 2-0 in the third inning.
After two straight rainouts play resumed last Thursday and the Skyhawks (17-14) were able to rally to victory.
Game 2 was then set to be played on Friday night at Chapmanville but there was another rainout.
No effort was made to play on Saturday because of more expected rain and Chapmanville’s prom.
Then came the WESTEST.
No games are allowed to be played this Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday due to testing.
So, on Thursday at Chapmanville, Game 2 is finally set to take place. The first pitch has been moved up half an hour to 4 p.m. as weather, again, could be a factor.
If the Tigers win, they would force a winner-take-all sectional championship game on Friday night at Scott.
First things first.
The youthful Chapmanville squad has a tough task in beating the Skyhawks — a much improved veteran team.
“We’ve rallied back from one game down before and we’ve lost when we’ve been one up before,” Chapmanville coach Eric Ellis said. “It absolutely can be done. It’s just a matter of just going out and making the plays and doing the things that we have done most of the year.”
Chapmanville is 1-2 so far this season against Scott. The two teams split during the regular season with Scott winning 6-5 at home and losing 10-8 late in the year at CRHS.
“We knew that it was going to be a war with those guys,” Ellis said. “They’ve been around and they’ve had a really good year over there. They are a very good team and we know that we have to play very well in order to have a chance to win. But we feel like if we do play well we’ll be right there with a shot. Last Thursday, we had a shot but we had a couple of blunders and a few walks. A few things like that hamper you when you are trying to win tournament games. We let it get away.”
When play finally resumed on Thursday, Chapmanville plated one run in the third and one in the fourth to take a 4-1 lead. Scott then scored one in the last half of the fourth and two more in the bottom of the seventh to win.
Scott’s Cody Brown hit a walk-off single to right for the game winner. Brown finished with three hits to lead the Skyhawks. Forrest Spurlock also hit a homer and drove in two runs for Scott.
William Copley, Tristan Thompson and Brent Bigley had two hits each for the Tigers.
Scott outhit the Tigers 8-7.
Dustin Conley was the starting pitcher for Chapmanville. He was relieved by Trey Dalton in the fifth.
Chapmanville and Scott were scheduled to play Game 2 last Friday at Chapmanville’s Ted Ellis Field but an afternoon rainstorm soaked the playing surface and the game was postponed.
“There were a lot of games that were played on Friday but we were the one area in the state that got hit with a 20-minute thunderstorm which demolished our field,” Ellis said. “It seems like it has bounced around and found us all week. Hopefully, the weather will be better this week and we can get this thing in by Friday.”
But it might rain again.
Scattered thunderstorms are in the forecast for the Chapmanville/Madison area Thursday and Friday. There’s a 50 percent chance of rain on Thursday and a 40 percent chance on Friday. Temperatures are expected to be in the upper 70s.
The Tigers finished 20-11 last season and lost 6-5 to Wayne in the Class AA regional semifinals — a year after finishing 35-3 and winning the state title in 2011. The Tigers beat Scott 17-7 in the sectional final.
Back in 2011, Chapmanville handled Scott 4-3 and 12-2 to claim the section crown.
In the 2010 season, the Tigers won 6-5 in eight innings and 15-1 over the Skyhawks to take the sectional title.
The section title run began in 2009 as Chapmanville was a 17-7 and 11-10 winner in eight innings over Scott.
The winner of this year’s Chapmanville-Scott series is slated to host Wayne on May 21 in the Class AA regional semifinals.
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