POCA, W.Va. - Turns out that Herbert Hoover is human, after all. Very human, in fact.
The unbeaten and No. 1-ranked Huskies committed five errors and Poca pounced on the extra chances all the way through, battering its way to a 12-4 Cardinal Conference victory Friday night.
Sophomore right-hander Noah Frampton went the distance for the Dots (13-5), the No. 7 team in the Gazette's Class AA state ratings, and also contributed at the plate, going 3 for 4 with two doubles and drove in four runs.
"They were all fired up for this,'' Poca coach Gene Estel said of his players. "This was a big game for us.''
The Dots were all too eager to capitalize on Hoover's miscues, since they suffered a 10-0 loss to the Huskies and ace pitcher Tristan Fields at Falling Rock on April 2.
"We just came out ready to play this game,'' Frampton said. "It was early in the season [the first time versus Hoover] and I don't think we were really prepared. Tonight we knew we were going to face Fields and we knew we had to hit him because he's a very good pitcher - and we did.''
Hoover (16-1) entered the game as one of two unbeaten teams remaining in the state (Class A Gilmer County at 18-0 being the other), but fell behind 6-0 after two innings, with all those runs unearned due to four early Huskies errors. In all, nine of Poca's 12 runs were unearned.
"They put the ball in play and we didn't make the play,'' said Hoover coach Brian Young. "That was it exactly. That set the tone for the ballgame. When you put yourself in that-type of hole, it's tough to battle back from.''
Hoover actually outhit Poca 13-8, but the Dots came through with more timely knocks.
Frampton smacked a two-run double to highlight a five-run second inning for the Dots and later added another two-run double in the fifth as Poca flirted with a mercy-rule stoppage. Four runs in the bottom of the fifth bumped the lead to 12-3 and the Dots had a runner at second with two out and a chance to end the game early, but Hoover got an out to buy more time.
Only one of those fifth-inning runs was earned - Evan McClanahan launched a solo homer to right-center field - because Hoover dropped a foul pop along the third-base line with one out. That batter, Matt Chandler, was then hit by an 0-2 pitch and the next hitter whiffed, but Frampton followed with a two-run double and Brett Watts (2 for 4) stroked an RBI double.
"They're a very, very good team,'' Frampton said, "and they usually make the routine plays. The few mistakes they do make, we had to pounce on them, and we did tonight.''