NITRO, W.Va. — The Big Blacks simply dug too big of a hole and didn’t have the time to climb out of.
The Point Pleasant baseball team surrendered the first six runs of the game on Monday night in Kanawha County, as non-conference host Nitro held on for an 8-3 victory in a rain-shortened game.
The Big Blacks (0-2) stranded a runner on third base in the top of the first and the Wildcats (1-1) — who were Class AAA state runner-up in each of the last two seasons — took full advantage.
NHS senior Adam Cavendish led off the bottom of the first with a solo home run. Later in the frame, Ryan Hill scored on a wild pitch and Matthew Hill singled home Mike Stone to give the Wildcats a 3-0 lead.
PPHS left the bases loaded in the second inning, and the hosts again took advantage. A hit, a walk and a hit batter, teamed with two Point Pleasant errors led to three more Nitro runs in the second frame, making the hosts’ advantage 6-0.
The Big Blacks cut their deficit in half in the top of the fourth, as Josh Wamsley singled home both Tyler Mitchell and Alec Smith, and then Miles Williams scored on an error.
However, Nitro got two of the runs back in the bottom of the frame, as Jason Douglas doubled home Cavendish and then scored on a Matthew Hill double.
PPHS was retired in order in the top of the fifth, and after a single to lead off the top of the sixth, the game was called due to weather.
NHS senior Jacob Ilar was the winning pitcher of record, allowing three runs, two earned, on six hits and three free passes. Ilar struck out three batters in a complete game effort.
The losing pitcher of record was Abe Stearns — a Potomac State signee — who allowed eight runs, five earned, on six hits, three walks and a hit batter. Stearns struck out five batters in 3.1 innings of work. Carter Smith allowed one hit and one walk in .2 innings, while Levi Mitchell struck out one batter and allowed one hit in one inning.
Wamsley, Smith, Williams, Mitchell, Hunter Blain and Austin Richardson each singled for the PPHS offense. Mitchell, Smith and Williams each scored once for Point Pleasant, with Wamsley marking two runs batted in.
Josh Adkins led the victors at the plate, going 2-of-2 with a run scored. Cavendish was 1-for-2 with a home run, an RBI and two runs scored, Ryan Hill doubled once, scored once, drove in two runs and stole a base, while Douglas and Stone both doubled once, scored once and drove in one run.
Matthew Hill singled once, drove in a run and stole one base for the Wildcats, while Logan Gaddy singled once. Sean Green and Trey Warden both scored once for the victors.
Point Pleasant finished with three errors and five runners left on base in setback, while NHS had one error and four runners left on base.
The Big Blacks will have their chance at revenge on April 13, when the Wildcats visit Point Pleasant.
PPHS will be back in action on Wednesday, when Wayne visits Mason County.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.