sports lineup card

Oak Hill coach Chris Walls is shown filling out a lineup card prior to an earlier game. Walls and his Red Devils take a sparkling record (15-1 as of Thursday) into this week as local high school teams face a full slate of activities on their return from spring break.

Steve Keenan
The Fayette Tribune, Oak Hill, W.Va.

SMITHERS — After hard-to-digest baseball losses to Scott and Van earlier this week, the Valley Greyhounds were in need of a pick-me-up.

It came in the form of a 9-4 triumph over Fayette County foe Fayetteville Wednesday.

“Monday against Scott (a 9-8 setback), we lulled through the first six innings, then came alive in the seventh but it was too late. Against Van, we settled down (after giving the Bulldogs three runs in the first inning),” said Valley coach Joe Craffey. “We hit the ball a little better tonight, especially with runners on.

“That’s been our downfall the last couple of games.”

The Greyhounds plated four runs with two outs in the second inning to move into the driver’s seat following a scoreless first inning for both squads. Andrew Johnson was plunked by FHS pitcher Brandon Fox, advanced to second on a bunt by teammate Dillon Ganoe and to third on a throwing error on the same play, then raced home on an infield single by lead-off hitter Cameron Belmont. The Greyhounds plated another run when Fayetteville third baseman Jon Paul Blankenship let a grounder get by him, scoring Ganoe. Finally, Josh Thompson laced a two-bagger to left to score Belmont and his brother, Austin, to make it 4-0.

“We got a little bit of a lead and it gave the guys a little confidence,” said Craffey, whose team improved to 7-3.

Fayetteville assistant coach Jonathan Parsons, filling in for absent head coach Richard Spearen, said the Pirates — with five errors — were too helpful to the Valley cause.

“We had a lot of mental mistakes,” said Parsons. “And we made contact with the ball, but we weren’t hitting it anywhere in the holes.

“Hopefully we’ll get together and start coming around by sectional time.”

Cameron Belmont finished 3-for-4 with three RBIs for Valley, including a lead-off solo homer in the bottom of the sixth that greeted Pirate reliever Alex Preast that accounted for the final margin. Ganoe was 2-for-2, which included a fifth-inning double that brought home courtesy runner Marcus Wilson and pinch runner Nick Accord, who were running for catcher Tyler Sears (reached on a single) and Johnson (error), respectively.

For the Pirates, Blankenship was 2-for-2 with a third-inning double to the gap in left center that scored Dylan Young (walk) and K.C. Dempsey (single), Nich Carte’s grounder in the fifth scored Troy Hopkins, and Drew Weis launched a solo homer over the center field fence in the top of the sixth that trimmed the deficit to 8-4.

Immediately following Weis’ shot, Fox rapped a single, but Valley pitcher Robert VanMeter prevented any further damage by fanning Ryan Elkins and getting Vernon Farrell to fly out.

On the afternoon, the Greyhound junior went the distance, striking out seven and walking one while scattering five hits.

“Robert threw a good game,” said Craffey. “When he hits his spots, he can do real well.

“He’s one of those guys who feeds off what the guys behind him do. He has the tendency that, if we’re not playing well behind him, he gets down on himself.”

Fayetteville (5-6) hosts Charleston Catholic at 5 p.m. today, while Valley entertains Clay at noon Thursday, followed by a 5 p.m. home encounter against Poca.

In other recent games:

Fayetteville 6

Clay-Battelle 2

Buffalo-Putnam 5

Fayetteville 4

The Fayetteville softball squad split two games at the Best of the Best Tournament at Buffalo Thursday.

The Pirates beat Clay-Battelle 6-2 and fell to the host team 5-4.

Beth George went 4-for-5 to lead the Pirates to the win in the opener. Also, Amanda Feazell (double), Erica Payne and Amber Spearen (double, two RBIs) each had two-hit games.

Stephanie Nickell went the distance to earn the pitching win.

Jessica Blake had three hits for Buffalo-Putnam in the nightcap, including a home run and a double.

Amy Holly had a double and drove in two runs for the Pirates (7-4). Shandi Myles registered a triple.

Independence 15

Oak Hill 5

Justin Chandler hit a grand slam and had six RBIs as Independence downed previously undefeated Oak Hill in six innings Thursday.

Richard Hampton went 4-for-5 and drove in two runs for Independence (7-4), which banged out 16 hits against two Oak Hill pitchers.

Rob Stephens was 3-for-3 with a pair of doubles and an RBI for Oak Hill (15-1), which was outhit 16-9. Frankie McGraw homered, and Aaron McComas (double), Chris Chapman and Brent Brash drove in one run apiece.

The Patriots broke away from a 5-3 Oak Hill lead with 12 runs in the fifth and sixth innings.

Charleston Catholic 4

Fayetteville 3

Charleston Catholic’s Sam Wood had two hits, including a double and an RBI, in four at-bats in a win over host Fayetteville Thursday.

Also for Catholic, Will Pack was 2-for-3 and scored a run, and Prudnick had a double and an RBI.

Alex Preast had two doubles and an RBI in two at-bats for the Pirates (5-7). Ryan Elkins, Troy Hopkins and Jon Paul Blankenship were each 1-for-3.

Fayetteville was looking to avenge a 9-3 loss to Catholic earlier in the week.

During the first four innings, Catholic touched FHS hurler Alex Preast for nine hits and four runs to gain a 4-1 lead. Preast then settled in and shut the Irish down 1-2-3 in consecutive innings. Troy Hopkins threw a hitless seventh and Fayetteville was trailed 4-2 heading into the bottom of the seventh.

Preast started the frame with a leadoff double. Frankie Bragg then flied out to center but it wasn’t deep enough to advance Preast to third. With Hopkins facing a 1-2 count, Preast stole third and then scored on an errant throw from the catcher, making it 4-3 with one out.

Hopkins singled on the next pitch, and Jon Paul Blankenship reached base and advanced Hopkins to second on error by the Irish shortstop. On a K.C. Dempsey bouncer up the middle, the Irish got Hopkins at third on a force. With runners at first and second and two outs, Catholic pitcher Bobinger fanned the Pirates’ Drew Weis and the Pirates fell a little short.

Bobinger threw seven strong innings for the Irish, scattering six hits and three runs (none earned) while striking out three and issuing one walk.

Fayetteville’s scheduled game with Midland Trail this past Saturday will be played today. Monday’s game against Scott was moved to Wednesday.

Oak Hill 10

Bluefield 0

Dustin Nuckels tossed a five-hitter and Aaron McComas cracked his second home run of the season to lift unbeaten Oak Hill (15-0). McComas wound up with three RBIs.

Nuckels (3-0) struck out six and didn’t walk a batter in six innings.

Frankie McGraw backed him with three hits and an RBI, while Rob Stephens was 2-for-3 with a two-bagger and three runs scored. Tyler Zimm drove in a run and scored three.

Warren Furrow doubled and Chase Joiner was 3-for-3 for Bluefield.


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