HURRICANE, W.Va. - Another classic regional game between Cabell Midland and Hurricane ended in another agonizing loss for the Redskins.
Seth Kinker fired a two-hitter with 11 strikeouts and Jacob Beahrs slapped an RBI single in the top of the eighth inning Monday evening to lead the Knights to a 1-0 victory over No. 1 Hurricane in the Class AAA Region 4 semifinals before an estimated crowd of 400 at Lola Meeks Memorial Field.
The win sends Midland (22-10), the No. 6 team in the Gazette's state ratings, into the regional finals at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Winfield.
Kinker, a junior, issued no walks and outdueled Hurricane sophomore J.T. Rogoszewski, who pitched a five-hitter with nine strikeouts and two walks (one intentional), allowing an unearned run. Both right-handers threw 95 pitches.
"I kept the ball down all night,'' Kinker said. "They just kept drilling it into the ground or they struck out.
"I knew if they were going to hit it, I had the team behind me. If I get a ground ball, I know they're going to field it. If I get a popup, I knew they're going to get it. And I'd get a strikeout here and there. It was just location tonight. I worked down and they pounded it into the ground.''
Neither team advanced a runner to third base until the top of the eighth, when Midland took advantage of a throwing error by Rogoszewski, who fielded Cole Tilley's one-out grounder to the side of the mound and fired wildly to first, allowing Tilley to reach second.
Eric Wooten dropped down a sacrifice bunt, moving Tilley to third. Beahrs, the Knights' leadoff man, then stroked a single that fell just inside the right-field line to score Tilley with the game's only run.
"We preached to them all year,'' said Midland coach Tracy Brumfield, "that when you get in situations like this, it's like football. If you can only run the ball, they're going to put nine in the box, and you're done.
"You've got a guy like [Rogoszewski] throwing, you've got to find some other way to get offense, and we put down two, three pretty good bunts . . . You've got to be able to find something else if the bats aren't working that day to move on, to get past the round, because you've got to face guys like this. I knew it was going to be a seven-inning game or extra-inning game today. I knew it.''
It marked the third time in four years Midland beat Hurricane (25-5) in a tight regional semifinal - the Knights prevailed 2-1 in 2011 and 6-2 in nine innings in 2010.