POINT PLEASANT, W.Va. — The Point Pleasant baseball team broke out the proverbial whooping sticks Wednesday night during a five-inning 16-6 victory over visiting Ripley in the 2013 home opener in Mason County.
The Big Blacks (1-1) quickly fell behind 4-0 after a half-inning of play, but the hosts retaliated by scoring at least two runs in each of their five innings at the plate. PPHS stormed out a 7-4 lead after three frames, then scored the final eight runs of the contest to wrap up the mercy-rule decision.
Point Pleasant outhit the Vikings by a sizable 14-9 margin and produced 13 RBIs in the triumph. RHS also committed five of the six errors in the contest. The Big Blacks plated three runs apiece in the first, third and fourth innings and also scored twice in the second before finishing the game with a five-run fifth.
Ripley managed four runs on four hits and an error in the opening at bat, allowing the guests to claim their early lead. Evan Potter followed with a three-run homer in the bottom half of the first, allowing PPHS to cut the deficit down to one run after one complete.
Alex Somerville singled and stole second with one out in the second, then Tylun Campbell walked. Both runners advanced on a passed ball, then Potter delivered a two-out single that plated both Somerville and Campbell — giving the hosts a permanent lead at 5-4.
PPHS added three unearned runs in the third after a pair of singles and errors gave the hosts an 8-4 cushion, but Ripley answered with two runs in the top half of the fourth to close within 8-6. The Vikings were never closer the rest of the way.
Potter and Levi Russell led off the bottom of the fourth by reaching on consecutive errors, then Jacob Gardner delivered an RBI double that plated Potter for a 9-6 edge. Gage Buskirk followed with a single that plated both Russell and Gardner, giving the Big Blacks an 11-6 cushion headed into the fifth.
Ripley left the bases loaded and went scoreless in its half of the fifth, and PPHS managed to get its first five batters on base before making consecutive outs with a 15-6 advantage. Somerville delivered an RBI single to center, allowing Buskirk to come home with the winning run and a 16-6 decision.
Somerville was the winning pitcher of record after allowing four earned runs, six hits and one walk over three innings while striking out five. Potter worked the final two frames in relief, allowing two runs on three hits and three walks while fanning two.
Somerville, Potter and Gardner all paced PPHS with three hits apiece, followed by Buskirk with two safeties. Tylun Campbell, Levi Russell and Kodi Stranahan also had a hit each for the victors, who stranded seven on the bases in the contest.
Buskirk and Potter each drove in four RBIs, while Potter and Gardner scored three runs apiece for the Big Blacks.
Isaac Koontz took the loss for RHS after surrendering eight runs (three earned), seven hits and two walks over 2.2 innings of work while striking out three. Preston Baldwin also allowed eight runs (six earned), seven hits and one walk in two innings of relief.
Ripley — which stranded eight baserunners — got two hits apiece from Christopher Jordan, Isaac Koontz and Cody Pittenger, while Nathan Tucker, Tyler Pittenger and Easton Berry added one safety each. Pittenger and Koontz each drove in two RBIs and Tucker scored twice in the setback.