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Barboursville slams to Little League state title

SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Barboursville rolled out of bed swinging from its heels Saturday morning.

Brody Aliff and Jayce Gould slugged a grand slam apiece as Barboursville clobbered its way to a 21-8 five-inning mercy-rule victory over Martinsburg in the championship game of the Little League state tournament. A crowd of about 200 attended the 11-12-year-old event at Little Creek Park in South Charleston.

The win sends Barboursville to the Southeast Regional Aug. 1-9 in Warner Robins, Ga.

Barboursville amassed 19 hits and sent 13 batters to the plate twice Saturday - in the second and fifth innings - racking up nine and eight runs, respectively. Barboursville, which was only set down in order in the top of the first, belted three round-trippers, including the two grand slams, and scored 11 runs with two outs.

"You'd think it's like pulling teeth to get them out that early for practice, but they showed up at 7:30 and killed the ball [during batting practice],'' said Barboursville team manager Dell Adkins.

"They were hyper, yelling and cheering. From the get-go this morning it was nonstop excitement. Once the alarm went off I had text messages flying, 'It's time to win the state championship.' They were ready from the beginning.''

Barboursville and Martinsburg, which combined to use a total of eight pitchers in the title game, had exhausted their top hurlers and were relying solely on offense to carry the day. Barboursville was putting up video game-like numbers.

"We were on a roll,'' smiled Gould, who finished with six RBIs. "We were just fired up and ready. Our bats were warmed up. [We've] been dreaming about this.''

"We got [Martinsburg's] timing down and just hit the ball,'' added Aliff, who produced six RBIs. "It feels good.''

After falling behind 1-0 to Martinsburg on Mikey Jackson's solo homer in the bottom of the first inning, Barboursville seized the momentum in the second.

Trey Chapman's two-run homer set the tone in the second and put Barboursville in front for good 2-1 after just two batters. Barboursville then strung together five straight two-out hits and went ahead 9-1, plating seven runs after two outs. Chapman also pounded a two-run double and finished with four RBIs in the frame.

"It was huge,'' said Chapman of his clout. "It got us up and it got [Martinsburg] down a little. We hadn't scored and after [Martinsburg's] home run, we were getting down. [We needed] somebody to lift [our team] up.''

Martinsburg missed a chance to break the game open in the bottom of the first, and instead settled for one run.

Isaac Brown led off with a double and tagged up on Kyle Farmer's fly ball to right field, taking third with one out. Barboursville, though, appealed, claiming that Brown left too early in tagging up, and after a few minutes of discussion Brown was called out by the four-man umpire crew. Jackson, the next batter, homered to center field, but Barboursville starting pitcher Jason Perdue minimized the damage by getting Martinsburg's Garrett Hobson to fly out to end the inning.

Martinsburg never gave up and closed within 9-5 in the bottom of the third as Farmer scored on a throwing error and Aaron Pierson drove in a run on a groundout.

Aliff, who entered in the top of the third, restored order for Barboursville in the top of the fourth, sending a 1-2 pitch with two outs and the bases loaded over the left-field fence for a 13-5 advantage.

Farmer and Hobson each drove in a run in the bottom of the fourth as Martinsburg crept to 13-7. Gould put the icing on the cake for Barboursville with a grand slam in the top of the fifth for a 21-7 lead.

Martinsburg had to score at least five runs to stave off the mercy rule in the bottom of the fifth. After Hunter Reedy's run-scoring groundout for Martinsburg, Aliff, who relieved in the fourth, forced Martinsburg's No. 9 hitter Cam Burnett to ground out to end the game.

Barboursville celebrated wildly with players jumping up and down and gathering in a huge pile near the pitcher's mound.

Barboursville rallied from a 7-0 deficit for a 9-7 come-from-behind win over Martinsburg during pool play this week. Gould, Perdue, Griffin Adkins and Chad Heiner were on last year's team that lost 11-10 to Shinnston in the state championship game.

"Two grand slams ... sometimes it's just meant to be, I guess,'' Dell Adkins said.  "They've just battled. It's been great. The chemistry ... you can't have a state championship team unless everyone's on the same page. They've given me everything they've got.''

Reach Tommy R. Atkinson at tatkinson@wvgazette.com or 304-348-4811.


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