St. Albans extends season, sectional tournament with 10-2 win over GW

ST. ALBANS, W.Va. — Facing elimination for the second game in a row, St. Albans was not shaken by an early deficit in the first game of the championship round in the Class AAA Region III, Section 1 Tournament. The Red Dragons scored ten unanswered runs to extend their season with a 10-2 win over George Washington.

St. Albans (21-9) and GW (18-13) will meet for the third time in the sectional tournament and the fourth time this season Friday at 7 p.m. in the decisive game.

“I told them before the game, ‘To do great things, it is never easy’. We knew we were going to see their best guy. We saw him two times already this year. I was proud of the approach and the way our guys battled at the plate,” said St. Albans head coach Rick Whitman.

GW took the lead just three batters into the game. A run-scoring groundout sent Chuck Kelley to the plate, giving the Patriots a 1-0 lead.

However, the Red Dragons used some small ball to put runners on base against WVU signee Bryson Hoff. A trio of bunt base hits opened the door to a three-run third inning for the home team.

“Hoff is tough to square up throwing that slider like he does. We were fortunate enough to have some innings where we got the leadoff guy on. We were able to execute some bunts and they turned into hits. We took advantage of a couple of their mistakes.”

Leading 3-1 in the bottom of the fifth, St. Albans broke the game open with a four-run fifth inning and a three-run sixth.

Sophomore pitcher Gavin Comer did the rest for the Red Dragons. He went the distance, tossing a five-hitter while striking out five batters.

“We gave him the ball for a reason. He is only a sophomore, but he is a competitor. We knew we were going to have to compete tonight to beat their guy. He settled down after that first inning and let our defense work.”

Hoff pitched five innings for GW. He allowed eight hits and struck out seven batters. Alex Wilson had three hits for the Patriots.

The top four batters in the St. Albans lineup — Beau Kelley, Ayden Youngblood, Brogan Samms and Bryce Eggleton — each had two hits.

The winner of Friday’s game will face Oak Hill (17-13) in the Class AAA Region III best-of-three series.

“We’ve got to come out and refuse to lose and battle,” Whitman said. “They are a good ball club and they are not going to lay down for us. We have to win the day. That is our motto right now. We won today and we have a new one tomorrow. It is like I told them, ‘You guys fought back into this thing. We didn’t fight back to lose tomorrow’. That’s the mentality.”

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