CHARLESTON, W.Va. – No. 2 Wheeling Central secured its second trip in three years to the Class A baseball state championship game, beating third-seeded Ravenswood 4-3 on Friday night.
Doug Clark threw a complete game three-hitter on 94 pitches, giving up three runs (one earned), striking out four and walking just two for Wheeling Central (24-4).
“You have to give credit to Clark,” said Central coach Bo McConnaughy. “He struggled early with balls and threw a lot of pitches in the first three innings. He was trying to overthrow — he does that occasionally — but he settled down and he pitched a hell of game.”
Wheeling Central broke open a 1-1 game with three runs in the bottom of the fifth inning on an RBI single from Logan Wells and two-run double by Adam Murray.
“I was kind of upset when the first two guys (prior to those at-bats) didn’t execute the bunt,” McConnaughy said. “And then Adam came up and I told him to just relax – he has a tendency to over-swing.
“If he just takes a nice and easy swing, takes a little bit off of it, that’s the result we get. And he did that.”
Wells led the Maroon Knights by going 3 for 3 with two RBIs and a run, while Angelo Gentile added a 2 for 3 effort.
Ethan Mahan went all six innings for Ravenswood (24-11), giving up four runs on eight hits and striking out nine.
Chase Swain went 1 for 2 for the Red Devils, collecting an RBI triple in the sixth – part of two runs in the inning that closed Ravenswood’s deficit to 4-3.
“We have eight seniors and these guys have been together since 12-year old all-stars,” said Ravenswood coach Wes Swain. “I told them that they need to be proud of what they accomplished.
“This group as a whole has done some nice things for Ravenswood High School,” he continued. “All eight of them are going to be really successful in life.”
Wheeling Central moves on to face Moorefield in Saturday’s championship. The Yellow Jackets eliminated defending state champion and top-seeded Charleston Catholic 2-0.
“I think Moorefield has a good club,” McConnaughy said, “and they showed it.”
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