CHARLESTON, W.Va. – With fatigue setting in, nerves taking hold and the tying run coming to bat, sophomore Logan Smith got another chance to clinch the Class AA state championship for Bridgeport.

He didn’t squander it.

The lanky left-hander made up for walking two batters in the seventh inning by striking out Independence’s Kevin Sexton—his nemesis from earlier the game—and the Indians prevaile 5-2 for their first baseball crown since 2000.

Bridgeport (32-6) matched the single-season school record for victories and matched the state championships won earlier this year by the school’s football and track teams.

“I knew we’d find a way in the seventh inning, but yeah, I was nervous,” said Smith, his jersey ripped open after emerging from the infield dogpile. “I was kind of afraid because (Sexton) already had two nice hits off me.”

Indeed, Sexton yanked laser-like doubles in each of his first two at-bats, scoring one run himself and driving in another as Independence (27-8) built a 2-0 lead through three innings.

With the Patriots trailing in the final inning, however, Sexton fought through a nine-pitch at-bat before striking out on a 3-2 fastball.

“I hit (Smith) hard early, but I wish I could’ve done it again the last time,” he said.

Bridgeport played error-free defense in two games at Appalachian Power Park, and even its offensive mistake turned into the tying run Saturday.

After drawing to within 2-1 in the fourth, the Indians’ Anthony Bonamico bunted through a suicide squeeze. His younger brother Dante was hung up racing in from third, but extended the rundown and dove home head-first narrowly ahead of the tag from pitcher Andrew Hughart.

As a wide-eyed Hughart showed the ump his glove and the baseball in disbelief, Independence coach Scott Cuthbert came out to briefly argue the call.

“It was bang-bang,” Cuthbert said. “From my angle, it looked like we might have tagged him before he touched the plate, but you can’t really tell.”

Meanwhile, Bridgeport coach Robert Shields was counting his blessings.

“Anthony blew it and Dante made it happen,” he said. “Just an athlete that timed it right. They threw behind him and he just took off sprinting.”

Bridgeport took a 3-2 lead moments later when a wild pitch scored John Doddrill, pinch-running for Hunter Fain who doubled home the first run.

“I told our younger players that this was for the whole Bridgeport community, so let’s end this thing with a bang. I wouldn’t want to go out any other way.” —Bridgeport senior Tyler Skidmore

The Indians added an unearned run in the fifth after Sexton came on in relief, and A.C. Caldera’s RBI double made it 5-2 in the sixth.

That left it up to Smith, who preserved the lead with an eight-strikeout effort spanning 115 pitches. His four-hitter matched the complete-game performance of Tyler Skidmore from the previous day’s semifinal.

“I don’t ever let my pitchers go that much, but the last two days I guess I have,” Shields said.

The senior Skidmore, who had two of Bridgeport’s 10 hits and earned all-tournament accolades, recounted the motivational line he had delivered in recent weeks.

“I told our younger players that this was for the whole Bridgeport community, so let’s end this thing with a bang,” he said. “I wouldn’t want to go out any other way.”

Near the Independence dugout, Sexton wasn’t satisfied with the runner-up trophy: “It was a great season, I guess, but it wasn’t the outcome we wanted.”

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  • MyView

    First congratulations to Bridgeport High School and its student athletes for their very successful seasons. I am writing this from the southern part of the state so no bias here.
    Lets don't be hating on Bridgeport for their success and classification. They are the fourth largest double AA school in the state, according to the numbers from the WVSSAC, there is your problem, the WVSSAC and the WV State Board of Education. They simply look at numbers in a building to determine the three classes for high schools across the state. The SSAC never takes into account the area that a school pulls students from. For example Bridgeport, Bluefield, Fairmont Sr., and others get the attendance from a area maybe 15-20 minutes from the school. While schools like Clay, Ritchie, River View and others have kids that have to travel 40-45 minutes or more to get home after practice, or an away game in the late hours of the night (and sometimes a school night). The SSAC and the State BOE have determined that a level playing field is not and important aspect for teaching kids, values, sportsmanship and other qualities that come from playing sports. A fourth classification would ease most of these issues. Simply looking at numbers in a building to determine a level playing field is a very narrow minded way of thinking. As many people that work for the SSAC, the State BOE, you would hope someone could think outside of the small box they live in.

  • Whodat

    Not only is Bridgeport one of the very best schools athletically, they area always one of the highest performing schools in the state academically. Don't think that colleges don't beg for students graduating from Bridgeport....both because of athletics and academics.

    What an incredible city and school....actually, schools. All of the schools in Bridgeport are first rate.

  • Rick55

    Harrison Musgrave would be proud!
    I'm sure you will be getting tweet from him soon if not already.

  • Larry

    Say what you want, but Bridgeport has to be considered as being one of the best overall athletics high schools in the state.

    • Max

      Talked to 3 fine Bridgeport fans at Wendy's in Charleston. Congratulations to Bridgeport and your fan support.

  • whatamoroon

    You know what Mr. P. These kids go out and practice when their friends are doing other things. Then they bust their tail during the season, make the state tournament, then win it. The best you can come up with to say they don't deserve it is they aren't AAA. Not their fault and your an #&$.

  • Get over it

    Stay classy Mr. P

    I would suggest you know your facts prior to posting your feelings. Do a little research and understand how the enrollment numbers are determined. You are well educated and have an open mind so I know you are on the correct track. Anyway don't worry about giving the kids and coaches any credit for all the hard work they put in all year long. I am sure according to you everything is handed to the Indians.

    Congratulations Tribe on a great year and continuation of had work and dedication on the road to Championships.

  • Ms. BHS

    Check your facts. Bridgeport's enrollment falls clearly within AA boundaries. When they did fall within AAA they held their own in most sports competing against schools nearly twice their size. Stop your whining

  • Mr.P

    If Bridgeport was a AAA school which they should be they wouldn't be winning any championships.

    • marco

      I think they beat Hurricane this year, Mr. P, which won the AAA title. What do you have to say now MR. P???

    • Tom

      Can a school choose to play one division higher? I think that at one time it could. But I'm not sure about now.

      • WVU86

        Schools used to be able to play up one classification - at least in football and basketball as late as the late 80s - but not sure when the practice was discontinued by the WVSSAC.

    • Equalizer

      Should do a little research. Earlier in the season the tribe beat hurricane which in case you didn't know as of today are the 2014 state AAA baseball champs

    • WVcoal

      Sounds like sour grapes Mr. P., so must be sour grapes. Your life must be awful -- to put down the success that others work hard to achieve. Congratulations to Bridgeport baseball, well done. Champions in 5 sports in one school year is quite an accomplishment.

    • Diane

      Bridgeport isn't a AAA school, not by choice but by numbers. Congratulations to all the BHS winners, academics and sports.