Wheeling Central Head Coach Jimbo Wodusky is one step closer to bringing home a title from Charleston. The Maroon Knights came out of Thursday’s Class A Semi-final with a 10-2 victory over Valley Fayette, taking the team to its first title game since 2008.
Coming into the game, Wheeling had a tough task ahead of them with Valley’s leading pitcher Dillon Ganone taking the mound. Ganone, a perfect 5-0 on the mound this season prior to today’s semi-final was coming off a 15-strikeout outing. Somehow, the Knights broke through and scored 8 runs in the 7th, keeping up their average of just over ten runs per game this postseason.
Joey Baker started the scoring off early in the top of the first with a two-run single, scoring Derek Taylor and PJ Ratcliffe. Wheeling would then load the bases in the second but fail to score until the seventh and final inning.
Valley found several chances in the first two innings, but failed to score on either opportunity. With solid pitching from Joel Jarrett, the Knights took a 2-0 lead into the third.
Valley Fayette would come back in the bottom of the fourth to tie the ballgame up after some Wheeling miscues. An errant pitch from Jarrett moved the runners from second to third. The next pitch made it through catcher Kevin Keane’s legs to score Drew Jones from third. A few pitches later, shortstop Samuel Belmont would score after a botched rundown at third base. This would be all Valley could muster up offensively due to a solid 6 innings from Jarrett.
With the game knotted up headed into the eighth, Wheeling Central put up 6 more runs on Ganone. Centerfielder Arik McGinnis would come up to the mound, moving Ganone to shortstop. The Maroon Knights would go on to put up two more runs and seal their bid to the state championship game. Mike Keys earned the save.
Coach Wodusky and the Knights will face off Charleston Catholic at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday for the Class A State Championship. The Irish, meanwhile, handled Moorefield in the second semifinal 8-0.