OAK HILL — It's a given: teenagers often feel pressure.
Whether it's at home, at school, on the playing fields, online or at the mall, sometimes they just need a little something to help lessen that pressure.
Trailing No. 2 seed Wyoming East 2-1 through four innings of the Class AA Region 3, Section 1 baseball championship Tuesday at Jerry Epperly Field, No. 1 seed Oak Hill got just that in the form of a crucial two-base hit from Zane Wolfe, the squad's shortstop on the night.
In the home half of the fifth inning, Wyoming East pitcher Dylan Repass induced two fly-outs to put Oak Hill in a quick hole. But, the Red Devils responded. Pitcher Caleb Jones was hit by a pitch, then outfielder Braxton Hall drew a walk to put men on first and second. After a Repass balk moved the runners to second and third, Wolfe stepped in and, facing a 3-1 pitch, drilled the ball to center field for a double that scored two runs and put the Devils in the lead, 3-2.
"You've got 14-to-18-year-old kids," said Oak Hill head coach Dan Poland. "They're nervous. They feel pressure.
"You need something good to happen. Once Zane hit the ball in the gap, I think they started loosening up a little bit there in the end.
"Honestly, I really felt good about it the whole game."
The Red Devils added an insurance run in the sixth when Preston Legg's sacrifice fly to left brought home Tyreece Nelson, who walked then was moved over on a Jonathan Lyons single.
Facing Oak Hill reliever Lane Jordan, who stepped to the mound after starter Caleb Jones turned in six solid innings, Wyoming East's final at-bats in the seventh frame included a groundout and a walk before Jordan struck out the final two batters, leading to an Oak Hill celebration several years in coming.
"Me and (fellow seniors) Jonathan (Lyons) and Preston (Legg) have been here for four years, and we never made it out of sectionals (in the first three years)," said Jones. "We kind of choked there our freshman year, it was kind of bad. ... It means a lot to us."
Jones said the Red Devils weren't too anxious when Wyoming East took a 2-1 lead on RBI singles from Clay Lester and Eric Hoosier in the top of the fourth inning.
"We weren't really worried; we just knew we had to bear down and get outs," Jones said. "We couldn't try to fight from behind the whole game, so we knew we had to come in and swing the bats like we did in the end, and get the win."
Oak Hill took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third when Legg doubled to shallow left field, advanced to third on a throwing error, then came home on a Wyoming East error which occurred with Jones at the plate.
On the evening, the Warriors (19-7) outhit the Red Devils, 7-3, but they left the sacks loaded in the first and fifth innings.
"They (Oak Hill) hit the ball at the right time," said veteran Wyoming East head coach Ron "Chief" Mayhew. "We had people in position.
"If we played like (Monday's 7-3 win over Oak Hill) we probably would have had a few more runs. We were a little bit low on contact at some times. We played hard. We just didn't take advantage of the opportunities and they did. I can't be unhappy with our effort."
Mayhew called his team's four-game winning streak in the section tournament "fun and exciting," and he notes the squad loses just two seniors.
"We wish Oak Hill luck," he added. "They've got a good team and a good coach."
Oak Hill (21-12) will face the Section 2 winner, Shady Spring, beginning Monday in the Region 3 championship series.
WE: 000 200 0 — 2 7 2
OH: 001 021 x — 4 3 3
WE: Dylan Repass and Eric Hoosier; OH: Caleb Jones, Lane Jordan (7) and Tyreece Nelson. WP: Jones, LP: Repass. Hitting: WE: Eric Hoosier 1-3 (RBI), Tanner Whitten 2-4, Chris Harvey 1-3, Chase York 1-4, Clay Lester 1-2 (RBI), Jared Sandy 1-2; OH: Zane Wolfe 1-3 (2b, 2 RBIs), Jonathan Lyons 1-3, Preston Legg 1-2 (2b, RBI)
• • •
Also this week:
Midland Trail 1
In the last-ever head-to-head meeting between the two rivals, Fayetteville defeated Midland Trail 6-1 to eliminate the Patriots from the Class A Region 3, Section 1 baseball tournament.
Senior Seth McCarraher tossed a three-hit complete game, striking out eight and walking one. Midland Trail’s run was unearned.
Jordan Dempsey, also a senior, was 2-for-4 with a double and two RBIs. Max Holland (2-for-4), Logan Frantz and McCarraher each drove in a run.
Griffin Boggs doubled for the Patriots.
F: Seth McCarraher and Logan Frantz; MT: Nathan Hanshew, Cy Persinger (7) and Travis Scarbrough. WP: McCarraher. LP: Hanshew. Hitting — F: Jordan Dempsey 2-4 (2b, 2 rbi), Max Holland 2-4 (rbi), Logan Frantz 1-3 (rbi), Hunter Rinehart 1-4, Nick Milam 1-4, Eli Selvey 1-3, Timmy Bell 2-4, Seth McCarraher (rbi); MT: Griffin Boggs 1-3 (2b), Cy Persinger 1-3, Chris Vines 1-3.
Charleston Catholic 11
Marshall Pile threw a two-hitter with nine strikeouts Wednesday as the Charleston Catholic Irish earned an 11-1 six-inning victory over the Fayetteville Pirates, wrapping up the Class A Region 3, Section 1 title at the Shawnee Sports Complex in Dunbar and sending Catholic into next week's regionals.
The loss knocked Fayetteville out of the tournament and was also the final full team sports competition in school history.
Catholic (24-8) hosts Greater Beckley Christian at 6 p.m. Monday at Shawnee in the opener of their best-of-three Region 3 championship series.
For the Irish, Will Strickland went 3 for 3 and drove in three runs, including a two-RBI single in the bottom of the fourth to make it 10-1. Thomas Blaydes was 3 for 4 with a pair of RBIs for Catholic.
The Pirates got their lone run in the third when Jordan Dempsey beat out an infield single, stole second and scored on Hunter Rinehart's clean single — the only ball that left the infield against Pile.
Fayetteville coach Okey Skidmore changed up his postgame comments to his team, owing to the special circumstances surrounding the season-ending loss.
"We didn't even talk about the game right there,'' he told the Charleston Gazette-Mail. "It's over, but it's really over.
"I'm proud of them. We had a couple kids who came back after being out a year or so and, all in all, I'm proud of what we did. We kind of did what I thought we'd do.''
Charleston Catholic head coach Bill Mehle came over to the Pirates' team huddle following the game, the Gazette-Mail's Rick Ryan reported.
"I went over and asked Coach Skidmore's permission to say a few words to the team,'' Mehle said. "I hate to see a quality school and a great athletic program end in another school consolidation. I've lived through it from the other side — when Lincoln County consolidated four high schools there.
"It's just hard to see. It changes the dynamics of a community. I understand the economics of it, but it just rips the heart out of a small community. We've had some great competition with Fayetteville over the years, especially with the basketball program. It was a school that supported their athletics. I'm sorry we were part of the final game of that school's program.''
F: 001 000 — 1 2 2
CC: 320 501 — 11 12 0
F: Frantz, Rinehart (4) and McCarraher; CC: Pile and W. Strickland; Top hitters — F: Rinehart 1-3 (RBI); Dempsey 1-3; CC: Pile (2b, RBI); Ross (2 RBIs); Blaydes 3-4 (2 RBIs); Armstrong 2-4, (2b, 2 RBIs; W. Strickland 3-3 (3 RBIs); Spiegel 2-3; Sayre (2b)