POINT PLEASANT, W.Va. — A solid finish to a good start.
The Point Pleasant baseball team rallied back from a 2-0 first inning deficit and seized early control of its best-of-3 series against Winfield Wednesday night during an 8-6 victory in Game 1 of the Class AAA Region 4, Section 1 tournament being played on the campus of PPHS in Mason County.
The Big Blacks (16-9) — who served as the visitors on the scoreboard despite playing on their home field — sent nine batters to the plate in the top of the second, which resulted in four runs and a permanent lead at 4-2 through two complete.
The Generals (9-20) closed back to within a run at 5-4 after the end of the third, but the hosts ultimately never came closer the rest of the way. Both teams scored twice in the sixth for a 7-6 contest, then PPHS added an insurance run in the seventh to wrap up the two-run victory.
WHS grabbed a quick 2-0 edge after Brandon Wright and Aaron Imperial led the game off with consecutive singles, then John Bellomy singled home Wright for an early 1-0 lead. Imperial later came around to score on a fielder’s choice by William Hancock.
The Big Blacks countered with a leadoff single by Bruce McDermitt and Abe Stearns was hit by a pitch to put two on with nobody out, but a one-out flyout by Gage Buskirk allowed McDermitt to come homeward for a 2-1 deficit.
Alex Somerville walked to put runners at the corners with two away, then Cody Sockwell delivered a single that plated Stearns to knot things up at two apiece.
Austen Toler and Evan Potter followed with consecutive singles that plated both Somerville and Stearns, giving PPHS a 4-2 advantage after two complete.
Trevor Porter singled with two outs in the second, then Buskirk walked and Somerville was issued an intentional pass — setting up a force out at any base. The strategy, however, backfired as Bellomy uncorked a wild pitch, allowing Porter to score for a 5-2 cushion midway through three.
The Generals produced three hits in their half of the third, which led to two runs and a 5-4 deficit. The hosts were never closer the rest of the way.
Winfield outhit the Big Blacks by a 12-9 overall margin and committed all four errors in the contest. PPHS stranded a dozen runners on base, while WHS left nine on the bags.
Toler was the winning pitcher of record after allowing six runs, 12 hits and one walk over 5.2 innings while fanning seven. Somerville allowed just one walk and struck out one in 1.1 innings of relief. Bellomy took the complete-game loss after surrendering seven walks and fanning four.
Somerville, Toler and McDermitt paced PPHS with two hits apiece, followed by Sockwell, Potter and Levi Russell with a safety each. Sockwell, Toler, Potter, McDermitt, Stearns and Buskirk all drove in an RBI, while Somerville scored a team-best two runs.
Wright paced WHS with three hits, followed by Imperial, Bellomy, Bryan Bosley and Casey Frye with two safeties apiece. Bellomy and Hancock each drove in two RBIs, while Wright and Imperial scored two runs apiece.
Game 2 was scheduled to take place Thursday night at Point Pleasant. Game 3, if needed, will be 6:30 p.m. Friday at PPHS.