SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- South Charleston coach Ken Samms is enjoying his young bunch.
The Black Eagles gave Samms a few more reasons to like this group as three pitchers combined on a four-hit shutout and the offense scratched out enough runs for a 3-0 victory over previously unbeaten Poca. A crowd of about 75 attended the chilly matchup at Bryan- McIlwain Field at South Charleston High School.
"I'm kind of happy with them right now,'' said Samms, who replaced six senior starters with youthful talent. "They're hard workers and good kids. Look at them, they're out there raking the infield. Good to work with guys that want to learn and that are getting better.''
SC starter Jerod Jobst and relievers Trevor Sampson and John Pauley combined to strike out 13 batters, including eight looking, and stranded seven runners. Jobst turned in five shutout innings, surrendering just four singles while punching out nine.
Sampson fanned three in 11/3 innings, but encountered trouble in the seventh after allowing a walk and then hit a batter to put runners at first and second with one out. Pauley came in and whiffed Poca No. 9 hitter Skyler Vealey looking, then forced Dots leadoff hitter Noah Frampton, who went 2 for 4, to fly out to right field to end the game.
"I was just trying to throw strikes and let my team help me out,'' said Jobst of his performance. "I knew they could. I knew we would do something with the bats.
"Catcher [John] Cline was calling the spot and I was just trying to hit it with my fastball. Since we're young, teams aren't thinking much of us, but we're surprising a couple of teams. Once the season comes on I think we'll progress and become a good team.''
The Class AAA Black Eagles (3-1) found creative ways to make the pitching stand up. Jobst lofted a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the third for a 1-0 lead, scoring No. 9 batter Brandon Knapper, who coaxed a four-pitch walk, moved to second when Cline walked and took third on a wild pitch.
Austin Santrock bunted for a single and drove in a run for a 2-0 advantage in the bottom of the fifth. Poca first baseman David Taylor fielded the ball cleanly but had no play at home plate or at first.