MASON, W.Va. — Talk about starting the year on the right foot.
The back-to-back Class A state champion Wahama baseball team began its 2017 campaign with a 12-2 victory over non-conference guest Parkersburg Catholic, on Monday night at Claflin Stadium in just six innings.
The White Falcons (1-0) scored the game’s first run in the bottom of the opening inning, as senior Philip Hoffman singled home junior Colton Arrington, who had walked to lead off the frame.
The Crusaders (0-1) tied the game in the top of the third when Ryan Roedersheimer bunted for a single, stole second base and third base, and then scored on a WHS throwing error.
Wahama regained the lead in the bottom of the third, when Arrington singled and then scored on an error. WHS loaded the bases with no outs, but PCHS struck out back-to-back batters.
A two-out PCHS error plated Dalton Kearns and extended the inning. Bryton Grate then drew a base on balls, plating Hoffman and giving the White Falcons a 4-1 lead after three innings.
The Red and White added on to their lead in the bottom of the fourth, as Arrington and Kearns both crossed home plate.
Parkersburg Catholic got one run back in the top of the fifth, as Christian Tallman scored on a Logan Plummer ground out.
After two quick outs in the bottom of the fifth, Wahama rallied for three runs on three hits and a walk, extending the WHS lead to 9-2.
The White Falcon lead grew to 10-2 in top of the sixth when a bases loaded walk brought home Tyler Bumgarner. Tanner Smith scored on a passed ball and Nyles Riggs scored on a throwing error on the same play, giving the White Falcons a 12-2 mercy rule victory.
“It’s good for these kids that haven’t played to get the season off on the right foot,” said 13th-year WHS head coach Tom Cullen. “We didn’t hit the ball really well, so hopefully some of them will learn to leave the ball up in their eyes alone.”
The winning pitcher of record was 2016 Class A all-state first team captain Philip Hoffman, a Marshall University signee who struck out 11 batters in a complete game effort. Hoffman allowed just two runs, one earned, on two hits and two walks.
“I’m going to enjoy watching him pitch here one more year, it’s going to be fun” Cullen said of Hoffman. “He struggled at times, but he’s Philip, I enjoy watching him throw it. He’s not in mid-season form yet, but he will be, it won’t take long.”
Parkersburg Catholic’s Ty Sturm was the losing pitcher of record, as he allowed six runs, three earned, on four hits and four walks in 3.1 innings. Joel Stophel tossed 1.2 innings in relief and allowed six runs, four earned, on four hits and two walks. Bryce Moore walked one batter without recording an out. Sturm struck out five batters, while Stophel fanned one.
Arrington was 2-for-2 with four runs scored and a stolen base to lead the White Falcon offense, while Kearns was 2-for-4 with a double, a stolen base, three runs scored and one RBI. Hoffman helped his own cause, going 2-for-4 with a run scored, a stolen base and two RBI.
Jonathan Frye was 1-for-3 with a run scored in the win, while Smith was 1-for-4 with a run scored. Grate finished with two RBI, Bumgarner scored once and drove in one run, while Riggs added a run scored.
“We’ve not seen that much live pitching, our scrimmages have all been rained out, so this is the first time we’ve gotten to see a pitcher from another team,” Cullen said. “I thought Arrington did a pretty good job, Kearns did a pretty good job, and of course Philip had the one good hit early in the game. We struggled some too, swinging late.”
Sturm and Roedersheimer each singled once for the guests, with Roedersheimer and Tallman both scoring once and Plummer earning an RBI. Roedersheimer stole two bases for the Crusaders.
The White Falcons finished with three errors and eight runners left on base, while PCHS had five errors and four runners stranded.
Wahama will look to sweep the Crusaders when these teams meet in Wood County, on May 3.
WHS is back in action on Thursday, at Point Pleasant.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.