Bridgeport gets past GW 3-2
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The SSAC classification manual might say Bridgeport is a Class AA school, but the Indians baseball team doesn't have to act like it.
Bridgeport, long a major player in Class AAA, dropped a division this school year, but has maintained a triple-A identity with its scheduling, and that was never more evident than Saturday when it came to Floyd B. Wilcox Field at George Washington High School.
The Indians received a run-scoring single from Greg Smith in the fourth inning to break a 2-all tie and made it stand up for a 3-2 victory over the host Patriots. Bridgeport (15-2) played Logan later in the day.
Taking on two more Class AAA schools is nothing new for Bridgeport, which scheduled a dozen of its 25 games against in-state AAA competition. Veteran coach Robert Shields hopes "playing up'' will pay off in the postseason, as his team finds itself challenged by the better competition.
"That's why we're still doing what we're doing,'' Shields said, "playing the triple-A schools. Plus, I have a good relationship with a lot of the guys in triple-A. That's not saying we don't play double-A schools. We played Poca this year.
"In our area, we've got double-As, but then after you get outside of that, they're mostly all triple-As. We need to play the competition to get us prepared, so whatever class that might be, we need to do it because we've got a lot of room for improvement.''
The Indians, who came to town as the No. 2 team in the Gazette's AA state rankings, looked fairly sharp against GW. They committed just one error and the pitching of starter Josh Boggio (four innings) and reliever Joseph LaRocca (three innings) held the Patriots to five hits - all singles - and induced seven pop-ups to the infield and five flies to the outfield.
"I thought our sophomore [LaRocca] did a good job in relief,'' Shields said. "Boggio struggled a little bit, but he did enough to get us through four innings and keep them at bay. We made the plays behind our pitchers and I'm just pleased to get the W.''
GW (12-9), which lost its third straight, tied the game at 2 in the bottom of the third when Austin Griffith singled with the bases loaded, driving in Garrett Vogelbach. It appeared as if Clayton Anderson would be thrown out at the plate on the play, but he kicked the ball out of the glove of catcher Troy Anderson on his slide and scored to knot it.
But that was about it for the Patriots' offense. Following that play, they managed just one hit and three baserunners over the final 42/3 innings. GW coach Chad Campbell lamented the lack of timely hitting.
"You've got to get hits with runners in scoring position,'' Campbell said. "That's the name of the game. We had seven pop-ups today for outs and I told our guys that's the easiest out in baseball - an easy little pop-up in the infield.
"Our 2-0 and 3-1 hitting was horrendous. Those are hitter's counts and we're swinging at those pitches and we're popping the ball straight up in the air. We tell the kids if it's 2-0, 3-1 and you're swinging, you ought to be able to crush it. You ought to be able to get base hits on those pitches, and we're not. We're taking the bat out of our own hands.''
On defense, the Patriots did a good job of thwarting most of Bridgeport's forays - again via the fly ball on what proved to be a sunny, windy day. GW outfielders caught 11 fly balls behind starter Tanner Sorrells and left-handed reliever John Thomas, who worked five innings after Sorrells developed a tired arm.
"A good job by our lefty on the mound,'' Campbell said. "That kept us in the game. We were right there but, really, we were never in position to get that run to tie the game. We never got a man to third base with one out or less. We were never in a squeeze situation or a bunt situation.
"It's just the same stuff we've got to get corrected, and we've got two weeks to do it. They've got to do what they're told to do and the runs will come.''
Clayton Anderson had two of GW's five hits. For Bridgeport, Troy Anderson went 3 for 4 with a double and an RBI and Logan Zirkle was 2 for 3 with a double.
The three-game event was billed as the Jody Clay Memorial Classic in honor of the mother of former GW player Derek May. Clay died of brain cancer in May of 2011.
Reach Rick Ryan at 304-348-5175 or firstname.lastname@example.org.