"There's a big lip right in front of home plate and the ball went straight up in the air," Gertz said. "[Minnick] had the presence to go to first with it instead of forcing it at the plate. It would have been a bang-bang play at the plate, had we gone there. We were up 4-1 at the time and he made a good choice there."
That 4-2 score stuck the rest of the way, as Minnick retired 11 of 12 batters with a two-out error in the seventh providing the only blemish. That gave him the win on the mound, to complement that go-ahead homer.
" 'Z' is versatile. He's one of the best pitchers around, outstanding shortstop, outstanding catcher and he is just an excellent hitter," Gertz said.
The Dragons pushed across their first run in their first two batters of the game. Phoenix Shrewsbury doubled to lead off and went to third on a passed ball. Turley then knocked him in with a sacrifice fly to deep center field.
Morrison walked four in his 31/3 innings, but the Dragons managed just three hits. A double play killed a rally in the third inning.
St. Albans finished 21-11, knocking out Nitro and winning at Logan to force Thursday's winner-take-all bout. The Dragons were emotional in defeat, but Whitman enjoyed watching them put together a solid season.
"My kids had a great season; there's nothing for them to hang their heads about," Whitman said. "This game we played five seniors, four of them had never played varsity baseball before. They are typical program guys - they worked hard and when they got their opportunity they took advantage of it.
"They earned a lot of respect from me."
Reach Doug Smock at 304-348-5130, dougsm...@wvgazette.com or follow him at twitter.com/dougsmock.