Big Blacks blank White Falcons


By Paul Boggs - [email protected]



Point Pleasant shortstop Abe Stearns fires a throw to first base as Wahama’s Mason Hicks (12) was out on a force play during Thursday night’s baseball game at J.C. Cook Field.


Paul Boggs/OVP Sports

MASON, W. Va. — Apparently, perhaps Point Pleasant is Wahama’s kryptonite.

That’s because the Big Blacks have now handed the Wahama baseball team two of its three losses this season, including in dominating shutout fashion on Thursday night at Wahama’s J.C. Cook Field.

Point Pleasant posted runs in the second, third and fifth innings, en route to blanking the host White Falcons 8-0.

Three Point Pleasant pitchers, primarily starter Cody Sockwell, combined to throw a four-hitter against their Mason County rivals — and the defending West Virginia Class A state champion.

Thursday’s triumph marked the Big Blacks’ fourth consecutive victory, and raised their record to 12-9.

Wahama fell to 12-3 with the loss, as it was only the White Falcons’ fourth non-league bout — given its busy Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division schedule.

In the White Falcons’ season opener a month ago, the Big Blacks captured a 5-3 win.

On Thursday, Point Pleasant played good baseball from fielding to pitching to hitting.

“It’s important for us to get rolling on all cylinders at this point in the season. I was extremely pleased with the effort tonight all the way around by everybody,” said PPHS coach Andrew Blain.

Perhaps the best effort was by Sockwell, who pitched the opening five innings and allowed only four hits and three walks.

He faced 20 White Falcons, striking out four and facing the minimum three in the third.

After seeing five batters in the opening inning, he only faced four in the second, fourth and fifth frames.

With two outs in the first, Wahama’s Philip Hoffman walked and Mason Hicks singled back-to-back, but a Sockwell defensive assist ended the early threat.

From there, Dalton Kearns walked for Wahama in the second, Colton Arrington singled in the third, Hicks singled and Jared Nutter walked in the fourth, and Ricky Kearns singled in the fifth.

None of those runners reached second, as Arrington was caught stealing — while the Big Blacks turned a 1-6-3 double play in the fourth.

“Cody (Sockwell) is a bulldog. He had been out for a week with some medical issues, but now it’s good to have him back. What that does is give our team a sparkplug. When we miss him, there’s a piece of the puzzle missing. Now that he is back, it gives us more life and more energy that we have been lacking the last couple of weeks,” said Blain. “He did a phenomenal job on the mound. He always fills up the zone and throws a lot of strikes. He wants to go right at hitters, he sets a good tone and he has a great tempo. And our guys respond really well to him and played really well behind him. We do have a very good defensive team, and when we play good defense and we get confidence, that just gets things going for us at the plate and we saw that tonight.”

Indeed, for the Big Blacks hammered out 13 hits — all singles in fact — including at least two in every inning they scored.

Against Wahama starting pitcher Nutter, Point Pleasant — in batting around — scored three runs on five hits in the top of the second.

Sockwell and James Littlepage singled to lead off, then Abe Stearns singled to right with one out to score Sockwell’s courtesy runner Garrett Litchfield.

Justice Chapman drew a walk, then Littlepage crossed on Kaleb Beckner’s sacrifice fly.

Chris Lush then singled, followed by Derek King’s RBI-single that scored Stearns.

In the third, Point Pleasant took advantage of one-out back-to-back free passes — as Littlepage was hit by a pitch and Tristan Austin walked.

Stearns singled to load the bases, and Littlepage scored again when Chapman singled him home.

In the fifth, and against White Falcon reliever Tyler Grimm, the Big Blacks scored their final four runs on four hits.

Stearns singled to left with one out, then Chapman walked before four consecutive batters collected an RBI.

Beckner singled to score Stearns, Lush singled to score Chapman’s courtesy runner Trey Tucker, King’s sacrifice fly scored Beckner, and finally Matt Richardson singled to plate Lush.

The only other Point Pleasant hits were also singles, as Sockwell had an infield hit in the fourth and Austin Richardson a safety in the seventh.

“We had very good quality at-bats and hitting tonight. We stayed in our at-bats and then made good decisions on the basepaths. We didn’t run ourselves into any outs, we singled them to death, we stayed through good pitches and didn’t try to do too much,” said Blain. “And it’s contagious. Once one guy starts hitting and sees that they can hit, then the rest of the guys are going to follow along and that is important.”

With Point Pleasant leading 8-0, Jordan Cunningham pitched the sixth and struck out two, while hitting Grimm with a pitch with two outs.

Stearns struck out one, and walked Nyles Riggs, in tossing the seventh.

Point Pleasant was scheduled to play at Shady Spring on Friday night, then travel to Ravenswood on Monday.

Wahama — leading the TVC-Hocking at a perfect 11-0 — traveled to Waterford on Friday for a league game, while returning to league play on Monday at Eastern.

The White Falcons were also set to play at Williamstown today (Saturday, April 23) for a non-league doubleheader.

Paul Boggs can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2106

Point Pleasant shortstop Abe Stearns fires a throw to first base as Wahama’s Mason Hicks (12) was out on a force play during Thursday night’s baseball game at J.C. Cook Field.
http://mydailytribune.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/web1_4-2-1PP-WAH-BB.jpgPoint Pleasant shortstop Abe Stearns fires a throw to first base as Wahama’s Mason Hicks (12) was out on a force play during Thursday night’s baseball game at J.C. Cook Field. Paul Boggs/OVP Sports

By Paul Boggs

[email protected]

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