RIPLEY, W.Va. - Ripley coach Shane Casto chose to stick with a gut decision he made on Monday and was rewarded in a huge way on Wednesday.
Vikings freshman Logan McCoy was a seventh-inning single away from a no-hitter and struck out six in a shutout as Ripley dispatched of Capital 7-0 in the first game of the Class AAA Region 3 Section 4 baseball tournament Wednesday evening.
McCoy played his Little League ball in Charleston with many of the members of the Cougars' team before moving to Ripley before high school.
The lefty was slated to get the ball during the sectional opener Monday because sophomore Isaac Koontz was dealing with some arm soreness.
After play was delayed two days to Wednesday, Koontz's condition improved, but Casto chose to ride the freshman anyway and the youngster turned in an absolute gem in the biggest of spots, mixing his off-speed pitches and fastball while pounding the strike zone.
"He's thrown extremely well for us the last three outings he's had," Casto said. "We'd talked about, 'who are we going to go with, who are we going to go with.' [Koontz's] arm was really sore on Monday so we decided to go with McCoy. Today his arm was feeling better and I said 'You know what, we told [McCoy] he'd pitch,' and I stuck with the gut feeling. He did a heck of a job for us and I couldn't ask for anything more."
Casto probably felt that way about his entire team after the Vikings (10-21) backed McCoy with flawless defense and pounded out 13 hits against a pair of Cougars pitchers. The offense really took off the second time through the lineup against Capital starter Kaleb Kinder.
In the third inning, with two outs and no runners on, Ripley pounded out six straight hits, highlighted by a three-run home run from senior left fielder Tyler Pittenger.
That inning resulted in a 4-0 Ripley lead, which was way more than McCoy needed.
Pittenger went 4 for 4, fell a triple short of the cycle and drove in four runs.
"I just go out and do my job and whatever happens, happens," Pittenger said.
The Vikings are riding a four-game win streak after not winning more than two in a row all season.
"The last four games [Pittenger's] been 3 for 4, 4 for 5, 3 for 4, and now four hits tonight," Casto said. "He's just unconscious right now at the plate and everything he's hitting he's hitting hard. He's an everyday starter we've had for three years and I'm glad he's going out toward the end of his career with a bang."
The Vikings' streak started with a 16-8 win over Class AA No. 5 Poca and included an impressive 12-3 win over Class AA No. 1 Herbert Hoover on May 2, reversing a 14-0 loss to the Huskies just nine days prior.