POINT PLEASANT, W.Va. — A strong start led to a solid finish for the Point Pleasant baseball team Monday night following a 6-4 victory over visiting Winfield in a non-conference matchup in Mason County.
The Big Blacks (8-6) led wire-to-wire after establishing a 3-0 lead after the first inning, then the hosts gradually extended their edge out to 5-1 through four complete.
Both teams scored a run in the fifth for a 6-2 contest, then the Generals (8-7) plated a pair of runs in the top of the sixth to close to within two. Matt Richardson, however, struck out the side in the seventh, wrapping up the 6-4 triumph for PPHS.
The victory allowed the Big Blacks to avenge a 6-1 setback at WHS back on March 29. Point also handed the Generals their third consecutive defeat.
Point Pleasant outhit the guests by a 7-5 overall margin and also committed three of the five errors in the contest. Winfield stranded eight runners on the bags, while the hosts left seven on base.
PPHS dodged a bullet in the top of the first after getting Casey Frye out at the plate on an attempted double-steal, then the hosts turned three walks, two hits and an error into three runs for an early 3-0 cushion.
Chris Lush led things off with a walk and stole second, then advanced to third on a ground out by Abe Stearns. Tristan Austin followed with an RBI double to left-center, plating Lush for a 1-0 advantage.
Garrett Litchfield entered as a courtesy runner for Austin, then Matt Richardson received a walk to put two on with only one out. Derek King followed with a single that scored Litchfield for a 2-0 contest.
Tyler Mitchell reached safely on an error that loaded the bases, then James Littlepage walked to force in Richardson — making it a 3-0 contest.
WHS responded with a run in the second as Noah Short hit a sacrifice fly to center that allowed Brett Morris to tag up and score from third, pulling the guests to within 3-1.
King led the bottom of the third off with a walk, then scored one batter later on a double to left-center by Mitchell — making it a 4-1 game.
Lush led the bottom of the fourth off with a bunt single, then stole second and third base before ultimately coming plateward on an throwing error to third base.
The Generals cut the lead down to 5-2 in the fifth after Aaron Blackwell’s sacrifice fly to left plated Frye, but the hosts responded with a two-out RBI double from Kaleb Beckner that allowed Mitchell to score for a 6-2 contest headed into the sixth.
Winfield scored on an error and a sacrifice fly in the top of the sixth to close to within 6-4, but PPHS induced five straight outs the rest of the way to wrap up the final outcome.
Austin was the winning pitcher of record after allowing four runs (three earned), five hits and two walks over 5.1 innings while striking out three. Richardson also picked up a save for Point Pleasant after fanning three of the five batters he faced in 1.2 innings of relief.
Brett Morris took the loss for WHS after surrendering five runs (four earned), four hits and six walks over 3.2 frames while fanning four. Ben Bartilson also allowed an earned run, three hits and struck out two in 2.1 innings of relief.
Mitchell and Austin paced the Big Blacks with two hits apiece, followed by Lush, King and Beckner with safety apiece. Lush led the hosts with two runs scored, while Austin, King, Mitchell, Littlepage and Beckner each drove in a run.
Frye, Short, Tate Hancock, Cameron Stoops and Sam Estel led the guests with a hit apiece. Short, Blackwell and Anthony Imperial each knocked in a run, while Frye, Estel, Morris and Evan Clay scored a run apiece in the setback.
Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.