Midland gets Hurricane again
HURRICANE, W.Va. - The Cabell Midland curse kicked in again.
The Knights, who have traditionally frustrated Hurricane in nearly every sport in recent years, did it one more time Tuesday night in unconventional fashion.
Midland bunched three of its four hits and all of its runs into the top of the fifth inning, earning a 4-2 victory in the Mountain State Athletic Conference championship game at Lola Meeks Memorial Field.
In the consolation game, Huntington outslugged Spring Valley 16-14.
Midland's win prevented top-ranked Hurricane (21-4) from capturing its third straight MSAC baseball title. The last time that happened was when Ripley took five straight Gold Division crowns during the MSAC's infancy (1994-98). Previously, the league was split into the Blue (larger schools) and Gold (smaller schools) divisions.
The Knights (16-10) were no-hit through three innings by Redskins starter Connor Adams and had only a scratch infield single to their credit through four. But Cole Tilley and Seth Kinker each delivered two-run singles during the fifth-inning uprising and Midland's pitching made it stand up.
Derek Adkins and Kinker combined to hold the Skins to a pair of singles.
"[Adams] threw the ball real well,'' said Midland coach Tracy Brumfield, "and we told them to take the ball where it's at - work it middle away. Adams throws the heck out of the ball [but] Tilley got a big hit against a guy who throws it like he does and Kinker came through with a big hit up the middle.
"Our pitching was . . . to give up two hits to this team with the lineup they've got - we know it was going to be a low-scoring game, and our kids stepped up and played.''
Hurricane, the No. 1 team in the Gazette's Class AAA state ratings, took a 2-0 lead in the first against Adkins, who issued three of his seven walks in that inning.
Adams drew a bases-loaded walk to put Hurricane on the board first, and Ace Estep was able to beat the rap at first on a potential 4-6-3 double play, picking up an RBI on his groundout to make it 2-0.
That was it for Hurricane, which got a leadoff single from J.T. Rogoszewksi in the second and went hitless the rest of the way.
"We all know baseball's a crazy game,'' said Redskins coach Brian Sutphin. "Obviously Adams was throwing the ball well. But he gets in the fifth and walks three and that's what got him out of synch. He wasn't missing by much. He just wasn't at the same rhythm as he was early.
"It's amazing. Four hits wins this game and in the first game, 20 hits loses the game. It's not all hits, but timely hitting and getting on a rally. That was a good baseball game. We've been there before - ahead 2-0 in the first and don't score. That's how you lose. You have to keep playing baseball for seven innings. It's not a light switch you turn on and off.''
Other than that one inning, Adams threw well, then Redskins reliever Trey Dawson came in and struck out the first six batters he faced in 21/3 perfect innings.
Reach Rick Ryan at 304-348-5175 or firstname.lastname@example.org.