MADISON, W.Va. — The clock struck midnight.
The Point Pleasant baseball team had its magnificent 2019 campaign come to an end on Wednesday night following an 8-0 setback to host Scott in Game 3 of the Class AA Region IV championships held in Boone County.
The visiting Big Blacks (23-9) were simply overwhelmed by SHS starter Aaron Adkins, who allowed only four baserunners to get into scoring position by night’s end. Half of those potential PPHS scoring chances also came in the top of the seventh inning.
The Skyhawks (27-6) also wasted little time in providing some run support for their starter as the Black and Gold churned out three runs in the bottom of the first.
Scott received a trio of walks to start the frame, then Carter Lyles lifted a sacrifice fly to center that allowed Aaron Epling to tag up and score for a quick 1-0 advantage. Dakota Bowman followed with a two-out double that plated both Isaac Miller and Nathan Kuhn for a three-run cushion after one complete.
The Skyhawks extended that lead in the fourth as Miller blasted a two-out, two-run homer to left that also knocked in Aaron Adkins for a 5-0 edge.
The hosts left the bags loaded in the fifth, but the Big Blacks weren’t as fortunate in the home half of the sixth as Kuhn doubled in both Epling and Miller for a seven-run advantage. Lyles also ended up scoring on an error after stealing third, which ultimately wrapped up the eight-run difference.
The Red and Black had at least one baserunner in every inning except the sixth, and the guests also left runners at second base in both the second and fifth frames.
Kyelar Morrow started the seventh with a single and moved to third on a one-out double by Josh Wamsley, but the pair was ultimately left stranded following pop-ups to first base and centerfield.
Afterwards, sixth-year PPHS baseball coach Andrew Blain gave credit where it was due, noting that the Skyhawks have a very formidable team headed to Appalachian Power Park next week.
The venerable mentor, however, was also pleased with the progress of his own troops this spring. As he mentioned, these kids have helped restore a winning tradition within the Point Pleasant program.
“They got to us early and they fed on it. They had their home crowd here getting behind them and they just kept building on that momentum. Scott has a really good baseball team and they got the job done,” Blain said. “We’ve had a great year of baseball. Great season, great offseason, and we have a lot of seniors step up and do everything that we asked of them to get ready for this spring. This group of seniors provided the best leadership I’ve ever had with this program, and they’ve definitely helped set a foundation for this program moving forward.
“This is a special group of seniors. They’ve worked really hard from their freshmen year until now, and I hope the younger kids have learned from them what it takes to be successful at this level. We’ll have some voids to fill next year, but we have a lot of key pieces coming back to make another run at this. If we are willing to put in the same amount of serious work this offseason, maybe we can pick up right where we left off.”
Scott outhit the guests by a 10-6 overall margin and also played an error-free contest, while Point committed the lone miscue of the evening while stranding eight runners on base. The hosts left seven on the bags.
Adkins was the winning pitcher of record after allowing six hits and three walks over seven scoreless innings while striking out seven.
Point Pleasant starter Hunter Blain took the loss after surrendering three runs (two earned) and three walks without retiring a batter.
Miles Williams gave up four earned runs, eight hits and three walks in five frames of relief while fanning four. Brody Jeffers also gave up an earned run, two hits and a walk in one inning of relief while striking out one.
Morrow led PPHS with two hits, followed by Williams, Blain, Wamsley and Carter Smith with a safety apiece.
Epling and Peyton Brown paced Scott with two hits each, with Miller, Kuhn, Adkins, Bowman, Trenton Short and Hunter Eplin with a safety apiece. Miller, Kuhn and Bowman also drove in two RBIs each in the triumph.
It was the final baseball game for Point Pleasant seniors Brody Jeffers, Miles Williams, Levi Mitchell, Colton Fridley, Carter Smith, Sam Pinkerton, Josh Wamsley, Andrew Jones, Cason Payne and Christian Holland in the Red and Black.
It was the first time all baseball season that Point Pleasant dropped consecutive decisions.
Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.