POINT PLEASANT, W.Va. — Now it’s simply a case of who wants it most.
Visiting Logan broke a 1-all tie with a 4-run outburst in the top of the fifth and eventually held on for a 7-3 victory over Point Pleasant in Game 2 of the Class AA Region IV tournament held Tuesday night in Mason County.
The series is now tied at one game apiece, with the all-important third and final game slated for 6 p.m. Wednesday night at Logan High School.
The host Big Blacks (21-9) established a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second as a Riley Oliver sacrifice fly to right allowed Hunter Bush to tag up and score from third.
The Wildcats (23-6), however, answered in the top of the third with an RBI single from Alden Slack that allowed Tyler Fenwick to come home for a 1-all contest.
After a scoreless fourth, LHS decided to shake things up a bit by having some players lay down bunts. Garrett Williamson started the fifth with a single, then a Fenwick bunt turned into an overthrow at first that allowed Williamson to come all the way around to score for what proved to be a permanent 2-1 advantage.
Slack followed by being hit by a pitch to put runners on the corners, then Konnor Lowe doubled in both Fenwick and Lowe for a 4-1 cushion.
Carson Kirk followed with a sacrifice fly to right that allowed Slack to come plateward for a 5-1 lead midway through the fifth.
PPHS rallied in its half of the sixth as Kyelar Morrow delivered a 2-out double, then came around to score on a Joel Beattie single for a 5-2 contest. Beattie later scored on a Tanner Mitchell double that landed just inside the foul line in left field, cutting the deficit down to 5-3 after six complete.
The Wildcats added some insurance in the top of the seventh as Fenwick led the inning off with a single, then Slack reached on an error that allowed Fenwick to come around and score for a 6-3 contest.
Lowe singled home Slack one batter later to wrap up the 4-run outcome.
The Big Blacks were outhit by a sizable 13-6 overall margin and also committed five of the six errors in the contest. Logan also stranded 10 of the 15 runners left on the bags.
Afterwards, PPHS coach Andrew Blain acknowledged that it’s now do-or-die time for his troops … much like it was on Tuesday night for the Wildcats.
As the ninth-year mentor noted, the team that seemed to want it more on Tuesday night was the team that got it. That’s something that Blain is hoping will change over the next 24 hours.
“We were in the perfect situation that we wanted to be in tonight. We go down to a hostile environment and win Game 1 at Logan, then we bring the series home,” Blain said. “We just seemed a little bit complacent and a little bit flat tonight. Logan brought the energy and intensity, and they played like they should have … like their season was on the line.
“I thought we were a bit too passive early on, waiting for things to happen instead of trying to make them happen. We probably played more not to lose instead of to win tonight, but give credit to Logan tonight. They outplayed us.”
Fenwick was impressive in picking up the winning decision as the southpaw allowed three runs, six hits and two walks over 5.2 innings while striking out five.
Joel Beattie took the loss for Point Pleasant after surrendering five runs, nine hits and three walks over 4-plus innings of work while fanning three.
Mitchell paced the hosts with three hits and also drove in a run, while Morrow, Beattie and Bush also had a hit each in the setback.
Lowe led Logan with three hits and three RBIs, while Fenwick, Korbin Bostic and Dawson Maynard added two safeties each. Williamson, Slack, Kirk and Jake Ramey also had a hit apiece for the victors.
With a win on Wednesday night, Point Pleasant would advance to the state tournament for the first time since the 2012 campaign.
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Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.