Going full-throttle at the start, Greenbrier West let off the gas only briefly and eventually vanquished Fayetteville 15-2 in a Class A Region 3 baseball semifinal Monday.

The Cavaliers pushed across nine runs in the first three innings — leading 9-1 going into the fourth — and plated six more runs in the fifth and sixth frames to cruise past the host Pirates in a six-inning affair on a toasty Memorial Day evening.

The win advanced the Cavaliers to the Region 3 championship game at Man last night. At stake was a berth in the four-team Class A state tournament field.

“We wanted to start strong,” said Greenbrier West coach Matt McClung. “(Trey) Phares (the FHS starter) is a nice pitcher, so we knew we had to be disciplined at the plate.

“We wanted to be aggressive and put pressure on them.”

The game plan worked, as West scored twice on three hits in the first inning, including RBI singles from Austin Ransom and Chase McClung, then scored three more times in the second for a 5-1 lead.

In the second, Jared Jennings laced a run-scoring single down the third-base line, Dustin Yoakum went home on a squeeze play, and courtesy runner Justin Harless was trapped in a run-down between third base and home plate but wound up scoring when the Pirates eventually failed to have home covered.

It was the first of two times on the evening that Fayetteville (17-18) couldn’t convert a run-down situation.

The Cavaliers chased Phares with four more runs in the third inning for a 9-1 cushion, and reliever Will Fenton kept them in check for the majority of the next two innings before a five-run West outburst in the top of the sixth – keyed by Chase McClung’s two-run single – proved to be the final dagger.

“They scored in each of the first three innings,” said Fayetteville coach Dan Poland. “He (Phares) didn’t have his stuff and we had errors behind him, base running and fielding errors.

“It just got out of hand. If we could have done anything at the plate and played defense …”

The Pirates got a 2-for-3 showing from Josh Long, and Phares and Zac Hopkins drove in one run each.

McClung and Ransom had three RBIs apiece for the Cavaliers (16-8).

“The season was weird,” Poland said. “Early in the year, we played real well. After we beat Charleston Catholic (6-3 on April 23) here, we were a totally different team.

“At the end, we didn’t play very good ball, below-average baseball.”

“We had a good sectional with three pretty solid wins,” said coach McClung. “We got hot at the end of the season.

“The team (has been) jelling. We’ve played our best baseball in the last month of the season and the postseason.”

But, he cautioned, “There are a lot of things we can do to get better.”

— E-mail: skeenan@register-herald.com


GW:  234  015 —  15 7 1

F:    100    100 —   2 5 6

GW: Austin Ransom, Jacob Burke (4) and Jared Jennings, F: Trey Phares, Will Fenton (3) and Jake Cogar. WP — Ransom. LP — Phares. Hitting — GW: Austin Ransom 3-4 (3 RBI), Chase McClung 2-3 (3 RBI), Jared Jennings 1-2 (RBI), Dustin Yoakum 1-3. F: Josh Long 2-3, Jake Alton 1-2 (2B), Dalton Dempsey 1-2, James Criss 1-3, Zac Hopkins (RBI), Trey Phares 1-2 (RBI).

Records – GW: 16-8. F: 17-18.

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