BELMONT – Wheeling Central pushed for a sixth-place finish here on Thursday evening in the second game in the Class A best-of-three Series I series, but host St. Marys scored an undeserved run to get her ticket to the state tournament for the second time in school history after beating the Maroon Knights, 2-1, in eight innings.
Josie Frizzell, who made 7 2-3 innings and allowed three hits, a run won with four walks and 10 strikeouts, was the unlucky loser.
The Blue Devils (18-8) of head coach Lacy Riggs, who last arrived on the state field in 2012 and will face Petersburg on Wednesday at 9:45 a.m., were the first in the order to the eighth.
Breanna Price started with a single, but Zoey Winland came out on top. Cali Masters, who shot the last two frames and allowed two hits with six punches to win the victory over Ella Smith’s relief mound, stepped on the plate and crushed a shot in midfield. Peyton Smith, however, returned to the fence and managed to steal a home run from Masters. However, the momentum pushed her over the fence and Price placed third. After a deliberate walk down the Smith cleaner, Layne Kincaid left a touch. In the play, third baseman Taylor Knollinger’s throw was a bit high and the ball bounced off the glove tape of first baseman Aspyn Bowman as the Blue Devils celebrated.
“I knew it was a trap” admitted coach Riggs, who saw that Knollinger (3 of 4) had as many hits as his entire team. “That was a great play. He really made a great play there. When he got the ball out of the field, we got two bases. That could have been a brake on momentum. It was a great play.”
Winland scored the first run of the affair in the first when he walked, stole the second and crossed with a single in the center of Masters.
No. 9 batsman Ella Bullman tied a one-out walk in the third and stole the second, but got stuck.
In the fourth, Frizzell allowed a double to Masters and then walked to Smith, but got out of the jam thanks to Kincaid, Ava Childers and Ava Giovinazzo.
Smith, who allowed four hits, a well-deserved run with a walk and four strikeouts, left the center runners in second and third to open the game.
Jensen Rine had a single from an out in the third, but got stuck. Smith then retired nine in a row before Knollinger had his second hit with a single bloop on the sixth. Although she was sidelined for the second outing when Frizzell hit the field of choice of a pitching player, cleaner batter Ashlee Baker delivered a three-sack RBI to the center left that the courtesy runner used. Mia DiBias.
“We have to do the little things like lower the touch. We don’t lower the touch and we don’t move the runners-up and it’s hard against a team like this when you don’t do the little things right.” said Central Buck Davidson skipper, who saw Bowman and Knollinger record singles from an out to seventh and eighth, respectively.
Davidson’s squad finished the campaign 17-6.
“She (Smith) caught the ball and took the ball out of the game, so it’s a dead ball on the field.” added Davidson. “The referee said he gets two bases instead of one.
“I am very happy. I have a lot of small children. Today I started four freshmen and one of them was my pitcher. Hopefully, the two teams will be the same next year, the same place. “
Coach Riggs is looking forward to playing against Petersburg next week and is excited about the future of the program.
“It’s awesome. It’s great. We have a great team.” added an emotional Riggs. “We fought a little bit tonight. I’m ready and excited. They’re ready and excited. We didn’t give up and we struggled with that this season.
“It simply came to our notice then. We fought and put something together and made it possible. We will have a week to practice and gain confidence with the bats. We have a great group and we are young. We are mainly first-year students and second-year students ”.
Contact Jay Bennett at email@example.com