WILLIAMSTOWN, W.Va. — A ‘Sweet 16’ indeed.
The two-time reigning Class A champion Wahama baseball team extended its postseason win streak to 16 consecutive games on Tuesday night following an 11-4 victory over second-seeded Williamstown in a Region 4, Section 1 winner’s bracket semifinal in Wood County.
The third-seeded White Falcons (17-9) surrendered only one hit over seven innings and led wire-to-wire in the convincing triumph, which allowed the Red and White to advance to the winner’s bracket final on Wednesday night at top-seeded Ravenswood.
The Red Devils defeated Wirt County by an 11-1 count on the other side of the winner’s bracket on Tuesday night.
After a scoreless first, Wahama plated a run in the second and two more in the third for what proved to be a commanding lead for senior starter Philip Hoffman, who fanned a total of 13 batters and walked four in 5.2 innings of work.
The Yellow Jackets (17-4) mustered their lone run in the home half of the third as Mason Adkins received a two-out walk, then stole second and third before coming in on an error — making it a 3-1 contest through three complete.
The Red and White answered with a run in the fourth and tacked on two more in the sixth before having the flood gates open in the seventh. With a 6-1 advantage, the White Falcons sent nine batters to the plate and produced five runs on three hits, three walks and two errors — giving the guests a commanding 11-1 cushion with only three outs to go.
Williamstown had its first two batters retired, but the hosts received four walks and had two batters hit by a pitch in the next six plate appearances — which led to three runs and an 11-4 deficit with the bases loaded.
Jonathan Frye — Wahama’s third pitcher — recorded his only out of the game while facing the ninth batter of the inning in Evan Amos. Amos popped out to shortstop, allowing the White Falcons to wrap up the seven-run victory.
The Red and White had six different players produce a hit in the decision, which included a quartet with multi-hit performances. The guests also committed only two of the nine total errors in the contest.
Afterwards, Wahama coach Tom Cullen was pleased with the night’s outcome — particularly in putting together one of the better overall performances of the year while playing in a hostile environment.
“The most important thing for us tonight is that we are still in the winner’s bracket. Philip (Hoffman) had his good stuff tonight and the guys seem to be a little more pumped up now that the tournament is here,” Cullen said. “We played good defense behind our pitchers, we ran the bases well and we had put the bat on the ball. It was just a good all-around game for us, the kind we’ve expected to see most of the year.
“You are always fortunate to leave Williamstown with a win because that is a solid team that we might very well see again soon. That said, we have to rebound and be ready to face a really good Ravenswood team in 24 hours, but the other reward is knowing that the winner will have a few days off while the loser’s bracket plays out.”
The White Falcons opened the scoring in the top of the second as Jared Oliver reached safely on a two-out error, then came around a batter later when Tanner Smith doubled to left-center for a 1-0 advantage.
Colton Arrington walked, stole second and later scored on a two-out single by Hoffman in the second, then Hoffman crossed home plate as Dalton Kearns singled to left for a 3-0 cushion midway through three.
Wahama answered Williamstown’s run with a score of its own in the fourth as Nyles Riggs reached safely on a dropped third strike with two outs that extended the inning, then Arrington singled Riggs over to third.
David Hendrick followed with a walk that loaded the bases, then Riggs scored when Hoffman was hit by a pitch — making it 4-1 through four complete.
An error allowed Hendrick to score in the sixth, then Oliver grounded out to second as Kearns crossed home plate for a 6-1 cushion through six full frames.
Arrington knocked in a run with a single and Hoffman added a two-RBI single in the seventh, while the other two runs in Wahama’s final at-bat came across because of errors.
The White Falcons outhit the hosts by a sizable 11-1 overall margin and also stranded 11 runners on base, compared to the 10 left on by the Yellow Jackets.
Hoffman was the winning hurler of record with his 111-pitch effort, which included at least two strikeouts in all but one of the six innings he worked in. Hoffman also surrendered only one earned run and gave up a bloop single to Amos to start the bottom of the fourth.
Adkins took the loss for Williamstown after surrendering four runs (two earned), seven hits and three walks over five frames while fanning three.
Tyler Bumgarner led Wahama with three hits, followed by Arrington, Hoffman and Kearns with two safeties apiece. Hendrick and Smith also had a hit each for the victors.
Hoffman helped his own cause with a team-best four RBIs, while Arrington, Kearns, Oliver and Smith also plated a run apiece. Arrington, Hendrick, Hoffman, Kearns and Riggs each scored twice, with Oliver also touching home plate once.
Williamstown had only one baserunner reach third base through the first six innings of play, which proved to be Adkins before he came home to score the Jackets’ lone run in the third frame.
Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.