Rain delays Sissonville's upset bid
SISSONVILLE, W.Va. -- Sissonville finds itself about three-quarters of the way to perhaps the state's top sectional upset so far this season, but the Indians are going to have to wait at least one more day to seal the deal.
The second game of their Class AA Region 4 Section 2 series with Poca was suspended by rain Friday night with Sissonville leading 4-3 after three innings.
The teams will pick up where they left off at 4:30 p.m. today. A win by the Indians (12-21) clinches the sectional, but a come-from-behind victory for the Dots (23-8) forces a third and deciding game, which would start about 6:30 tonight.
"We're playing good ball right now,'' said Indians coach Kenny Harper, "and we'll just have to keep it up and start over again tomorrow, like I told [our players]. And when we start out, we've got a one-run lead.''
Poca, the No. 5 team in the Gazette's state ratings, lost Thursday's opening game 6-2 as Sissonville left-hander Zach Null fired a four-hitter.
Friday's rainstorm seemed to rob the Dots of momentum, as they'd just scored twice in the bottom of the third to slice their deficit to 4-3.
"It obviously doesn't work well for us,'' said Poca coach Gene Estel. "But in this situation, what are you going to do? Mother Nature has not been our friend this season at all. But we've only got 12 guys and we don't need to get somebody hurt.''
The Dots already had one key player missing as Jake Payne, 7-1 as a pitcher and a .403 hitter, sat out Friday with a back injury. He was Thursday's starter. If Poca can't go back today to No. 2 pitcher Noah Frampton (5-2), Friday's starter, Estel has a decision.
His other likely choices are senior Ryan Leighton (4-0), sophomore Matt Chandler (3-2) and freshman Lucas Marshall (3-0).
"We've played a lot of triple-A teams,'' Estel said, "and [Payne and Frampton] didn't throw a lot of those because of how it matched up conference-wise and stuff. We've got other guys who work hard and do their job. So we'll just have to take our chances and see what happens.
"It just changes our pitching a little bit. We'll have to talk about it as a staff and with [Frampton]. I don't know if he comes back tomorrow.''
Frampton experienced unusual wildness on Friday, walking six in three innings and allowing three hits. Two Poca errors accounted for a pair of unearned runs.
The weather forecast calls for an 80 percent chance of showers and storms overnight and a 60 percent chance of showers before 9 a.m. If the sectional cannot resume today, it must wait until at least Thursday next week because of the Westest moratorium imposed by the state regarding extracurriculars.
That fact could play into the favor of Sissonville, as Null becomes eligible to pitch again next week.
"It would help us, no doubt about that,'' Harper said. "But I'm confident with who we put out there. We're playing real good ball and if the guys throw strikes, we're making good plays behind them. I'd like to have Zach out there, there's no lie about that. But you've got to go with what you're dealt.''
Lefty Eli Mooney allowed five hits and three walks in three innings for the Indians Friday and Dominic Walker had a two-run single. David Taylor and Brendan Iezzi donated RBI hits for the Dots.
Reach Rick Ryan at 304-348-5175 or firstname.lastname@example.org.