Big Blacks edge Wayne in thriller


By Paul Boggs - pboggs@civitasmedia.com



Point Pleasant second baseman Abe Stearns tags out Wayne’s Jeremiah Milum (14) in the first inning of Tuesday night’s baseball game at Point Pleasant High School.


Paul Boggs/OVP Sports

POINT PLEASANT, W. Va. — James Littlepage, putting it bluntly, came up big.

Actually, it was more like a walkoff in the grandest of fashions.

That’s because Littlepage’s grand-slam walkoff home run, in the eighth inning no less, lifted host Point Pleasant past the Wayne Pioneers 7-6 in Tuesday night’s baseball tilt.

After rallying from a 2-0 deficit to forge a 2-2 tie and ultimately an eighth inning, the Big Blacks battled back from an astounding 6-2 deficit — thanks to Wayne scoring on a leadoff walk combined with five consecutive singles.

The Big Blacks, against Wayne relief pitcher Dakota McCloud, completed an improbable comeback in the bottom half — with none of its five runs being earned.

Chris Lush, Derek King and Matt Richardson reached base on back-to-back-to-back infield errors by the Pioneers with one out.

Cody Sockwell singled to score Lush and trim the deficit to 6-3, setting up a pitch to Littlepage, who blasted McCloud’s offering over the left-centerfield fence for a grand slam home run.

With the thrilling win, Point Pleasant pushed its record to over the .500 mark at 10-9.

It also made a pitching winner out of King, who entered in the eighth after Richardson — who relieved starter Tristan Austin in the eighth — gave up three earned runs on the five consecutive singles.

Austin allowed, in seven full innings pitched, three earned runs on three hits and three walks with three strikeouts.

He faced four Pioneers apiece in the second, fourth and sixth stanzas, and saw the minimum three in the third and fifth.

King came in with the Big Blacks down 6-2, but managed to record three consecutive outs, including a “K”.

Richardson actually acquitted himself at the plate, hitting the game-tying two-run home run in the sixth off Wayne starter Cody Noe.

Noe went the first six innings, scattering five hits with no walks and three strikeouts.

He faced four Big Blacks apiece in the first and third, and retired the side 1-2-3 in the second, fourth and fifth.

Wayne actually outhit Point Pleasant 12-8, but stranded seven runners compared to Point Pleasant’s three — and making the three costly errors in the eighth.

The Pioneers posted their initial run in the game’s opening at-bat, when Cody Stiltner singled to lead off, advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Isaiah Thompson — and scored on an RBI-single by Jeremiah Milum.

In the third, Milum led off by being hit by a pitch, then scored on an RBI-single by Cayden Ross.

Ross and McCloud paced the Pioneers with three hits apiece, including McCloud’s seventh-inning double, but was stranded in scoring position all three times.

Milum and Stiltner singled twice, but both were caught stealing once.

Thompson drew walks on his final three at-bats, including a leadoff walk against Austin in the eighth.

Singles by Milum, Noe, Ross, Luke Cassidy and McCloud combined for the four runs, with Noe, Cassidy and McCloud collecting the RBIs.

But McCloud couldn’t close the deal on the mound, earning only one out before the three straight errors and Littlepage’s grand slam.

Prior to the sixth, the only Big Black baserunners were Richardson on a two-out single in the first — and Austin and Lush with singles in the third.

In the sixth — and with PPHS trailing 2-0 — Lush singled with one out, before King reached on a 6-4 fielder’s choice.

One batter later, Richardson stunned the Pioneers with his homer to tie it at 2-2.

In the seventh against McCloud, Trey Tucker was hit by a pitch and Austin singled, but the inning ended on a 4-6 fielder’s choice.

The game ended, however, in the grandest of fashions — thanks to Littlepage.

The Big Blacks, which hosted Ritchie County on Wednesday, travel to Mason County rival Wahama today (Thursday, April 21).

Point Pleasant has handed Wahama one of its only two losses this season.

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

Point Pleasant second baseman Abe Stearns tags out Wayne’s Jeremiah Milum (14) in the first inning of Tuesday night’s baseball game at Point Pleasant High School.
http://mydailyregister.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/web1_4-19-PP-BB.jpgPoint Pleasant second baseman Abe Stearns tags out Wayne’s Jeremiah Milum (14) in the first inning of Tuesday night’s baseball game at Point Pleasant High School. Paul Boggs/OVP Sports

By Paul Boggs

pboggs@civitasmedia.com

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