CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Class AA No. 2 Wayne set up a baseball state championship matchup with Bridgeport, beating Frankfort 7-6 in nine innings on Friday from Appalachian Power Park in a contest featured a lengthy, two-and-a-half hour late-game delay.
“These are the cardiac kids,” said Wayne coach Todd Ross. “In sectionals we had two walk-off home runs, had to battle a Logan team in regionals, and then to come in here and get a win in nine innings. In baseball anything can happen. It’s not over until it’s over and that last out was hard to get.”
Wayne (26-5) had its chances to end the game much earlier — and before the delay.
Leading 6-4 in the top of the seventh with two outs, a Pioneers’ throwing error opened the door for Frankfort, advancing runners to second and third – Wyatt Yates capitalized with a two-RBI hit, tying the game at 6-6.
The two teams played through the eighth inning in the rain, before field conditions forced the game to be suspended.
Cayden Ross was on the mound for Wayne when the game went into a delay and returned on fire, striking out three in the ninth.
“I was just ready to pitch, even though I threw 62 pitches before the delay,” Cayden Ross said. “I was feeling great. This was a complete team win and I want to thank God.
“It was a challenge and it was fun, you have to handle adversity,” he continued. “I was pacing during the delay. Everyone else was playing around and staying loose. That’s what you have to do in this game – you can’t press. If you press, then bad things are going to happen.”
The bottom of the ninth was rather quick, itself, as Josh Perry led off the inning with a walk and Jeremiah Milum followed with a single. Wyatt Milum was intentionally walked, loading the bases for Zach Perry to eventually hit a sacrifice fly to right, scoring the game-winning run.
“It was a great feeling,” Cayden Ross said. “That hit at the end was amazing. Me finishing on the mound with three strikeouts was just icing on the cake.”
Freshman Wyatt Milum got the start for Wayne on the mound, going five and two-thirds innings, giving up four runs (three earned) on two hits, while striking out six and walking six.
Jeremiah Milum was 2 for 4 with a run scored for the Pioneers.
Blake Wasson went five and two-thirds innings in the start for Frankfort, giving up five runs (three earned), striking out eight and walking three. Yates finished with two hits, two RBIs and a run scored to lead the Falcons.
Frankfort (23-7) committed three errors in the loss, while Wayne had four errors.
“I firmly believe if we didn’t sit here through a monsoon, a rain delay and tarp removal three times that we would have walked away with a victory,” said Frankfort coach Matt Miller. “But that didn’t happen, we had to fight through adversity and they got it done.
“The goal was not to get here, the goal was to win here,” he continued. “This group of six seniors is a solid foundation to build the program that we’re building on. I promise you one thing, we’ll be back.”
Wayne, meanwhile, has had its own recent frustrations at Appalachian Power Park and finally broke through Friday, in its third consecutive year at the state tournament, for a spot in the championship game.
The Pioneers will face top seed Bridgeport on Saturday for the title.
“Bridgeport is the four-time defending state champion, you don’t need to say anything about them,” Todd Ross said. “They’ve been here, they’ve done that. It’s going to take a good game from us to knock them off, but we’re going to hopefully rise to the challenge.”
At stake on Saturday will be a first baseball title for the Pioneers since 1995, while Bridgeport is going for an unprecedented fifth consecutive championship.
“It will be a challenge, but we’re ready for it,” Cayden Ross said. “We’ve been wanting to play Bridgeport for three years now. We’re ready to dethrone them.”
Saturday’s title game will be the second of the day, following the Class AAA title, which begins at 10 a.m.
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