Charleston Catholic takes the sting out of Yellowjackets in Class A final, 6-3

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Following his team’s 2-0 win against East Hardy in Friday’s Class A semifinal, Charleston Catholic baseball coach Will Bobinger remarked the Irish had minimal time to figure out a way to play with Williamstown in Saturday’s title game, with the Yellowjackets having handled the Irish in two regular season meetings.

Bobinger’s team did one better than figure out a way to compete.

Despite some tense moments down the stretch, Charleston Catholic used a strong start from Connor Jarvis to limit the Yellowjackets, and the Irish did enough offensively to claim a 6-3 victory in the Class A title game.

“These figured all season that they would be able to compete against anybody,” Irish head coach Will Bobinger said. “I was a little bit more nervous than they were. They were confident all the way and ready to go.”

The result gives the Irish (31-4) their second state championship in three seasons and fourth in 12 years.

Although Williamstown (30-6) scored the game’s first run in the bottom of the first inning, the Irish came out of it brimming with confidence. The Yellowjackets had the bases loaded with no outs courtesy of a single, walk and error, but Parker Schramm’s groundout to second that scored Wyatt Powell was the lone run the Yellowjackets mustered.

Jarvis, a sophomore, struck out Luke Ankrom and retired Carson Hill on a fly ball to center to keep his team’s early deficit at one run.

“We left a lot of guys on base,” Williamstown head coach Levi Maxwell said. “We didn’t execute like we usually do. our pitching wasn’t its best today. We scuffled a little bit, and against good teams, you have to be on your A game. It comes down to we got out-executed today.”

Bobinger felt a crooked number early on could’ve been detrimental to his team.

“They can usually put up big numbers in a hurry. Limiting them to one run was very important,” he said.

As it turned out, that was the lone deficit CCHS would face.

The Irish got even in the second following Gage Tawney’s leadoff double and a pair of bunt singles, the latter of which was provided by Xander Allara and allowed Tawney to score.

While Catholic had four hits in the second, the Irish made all three of their outs on the bases, which prevented them from perhaps going in front at that point.

The Yellowjackets drew two walks in their half of the second, but the inning ended with Powell tagged out in a rundown between third base and home plate after he initially thought of trying to score when a pitch got away and hit the backstop.

“I didn’t know what was happening early on,” Jarvis said. “I had a talk with my catcher [Zaden Ranson]. He said, ‘I know you’re nervous, just settle down and you have this. Just be you. That calmed me down.”

Jonah DiCocco gave Catholic its first lead in the third with a run-scoring single, and in the bottom of that inning, Jarvis retired Jenner Burge on an infield pop up with the bases loaded to keep his team on top.

That was an unfortunate theme throughout for Maxwell’s team, which left 12 on base.

Neither team scored in the fourth, with WHS again stranding a pair, and the game began to get away from the Yellowjackets in the top of the fifth.

Burger replaced Ty Ott at pitcher to start that inning, but he allowed three straight baserunners with two outs, including Tawney’s two-run double to left that made it 4-1.

WHS also utilized both Carson Hill and Brody Bowyer at pitcher in that inning, with Bowyer throwing a wild pitch that led to Tawney scoring his team’s fifth run.

Irish shortstop Luke Blaydes started a key double play off the bat of Ankrom in the fifth after Schramm had led off with a walk, and CCHS added to its lead in the sixth when Zaden Ranson blasted a double off the left-field wall that enabled Blaydes to cross the plate.

With Catholic leading 6-1 in the home half of the sixth, the Yellowjackets began to charge back.

Tyler Kaiser worked a walk and Wyatt Riley followed with a single, though Jarvis struck out Cooper Martin on his 109th and final pitch of the day for the first out.

On came Allara to pitch, and he immediately walked Powell, before Maxwell Molessa drove in his team’s second run on a sacrifice fly to center.

“He’s come through plenty of times. As a whole, we didn’t have very many hits,” Maxwell said. “When you have that few amount of hits, it’s hard to put that many hits across the board. We still found a way to score three, but we left a lot of guys in scoring position and on base. That’s a telltale sign.”

After Allara walked Ott and hit Schramm to force in Williamstown’s third run, Bobinger gave the ball to Blaydes. The move could’ve hardly worked out better as he induced a pop up to Ranson off the bat of Ankrom on his first pitch, allowing CCHS to maintain its 6-3 lead through six innings.

Blaydes was again effective in the seventh, working around a one-out walk to Keiser and retiring the other three batters he faced, including Siley and Martin on consecutive strikeouts to seal the verdict.

“Luke is my go-to guy. He’s been great all year,” Bobinger said. “He throws strikes. I know I can count on him. I was hoping to get a little bit of hard right-hander, soft left-hander and hard right-hander. It didn’t work out quite the way I wanted it to, but Luke did a great job. He was tremendous.”

Jarvis earned the win after logging 5 1/3 innings and allowing three runs on five hits. He struck out five and walked seven.

“I wanted more than anything to just win. I came in here with the mentality of throwing strikes, hitting my spots and executing my pitches and letting my defense play,” Jarvis said. “I felt like I did a great job with that.”

Blaydes pitched 1 1/3 scoreless in relief with a pair of strikeouts and one walk. He also went 2-for-4 and scored twice.

DiCocco keyed his team’s offensive charge by going 3-for-3 one night after going the distance on the mound against the Cougars.

Ranson, Tawney and Jeff Reynolds added two hits apiece in the win, which saw the Irish outhit the Yellowjackets, 13-4.

Ott took the loss after allowing two runs on nine hits over four innings. Burge allowed three of the remaining four runs the Irish managed.

Powell had two hits to finish with half of his team’s total.

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