CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Wahama got the start it so desired. The ending, however … well, let’s just say all the luck was with the Irish.
The White Falcons had their magical postseason run come to an end Tuesday night following a 12-6 setback to Charleston Catholic in a Class A Region 4 championship matchup at Triana Field on the campus of the University of Charleston.
Wahama (20-18) scored a run apiece in each of the first two innings, and starter Tyler Roush surrendered just one hit through three frames en route to a 2-0 advantage headed into the bottom of the fourth.
The Irish (28-8) finally found their sticks, as the hosts pounded out 11 of their dozen safeties over the next three frames - including three hits and four runs in the bottom of the fourth for a 4-2 lead through four complete. WHS answered with a run in its half of the fifth to pull back to within 4-3, but never came closer the rest of the way.
CCHS pounded out five runs and five hits in the fifth for a 9-3 edge, then followed with three runs and three hits in the sixth for a comfortable 12-3 cushion. The White Falcons mustered three runs in the top of the seventh to cut the lead in half at 12-6, but the Irish ultimately closed out the game and earned a spot at the Class A state tournament next weekend at Appalachian Power Park.
Charleston Catholic outhit WHS by a 12-7 overall margin, but the hosts also committed six of the seven errors in the contest. Wahama benefited from those CCHS miscues, but the guests also went hitless over the final two innings.
Zac Warth led the game off with a single and later scored on a two-out single by Matt Stewart for a 1-0 advantage after one inning, then a pair of second inning errors came back to haunt CCHS following a two-out single by Warth — giving the White Falcons a 2-0 edge through two complete.
The score stayed that way until the bottom of the fourth, when the Irish ultimately grabbed a permanent lead. Connor Golden started the frame with a double, then Rocco Wilcox reached on an error and Ian Lough walked — leaving the bases loaded with nobody out.
Kiefer Hovorka delivered a one-out double to center that plated both Golden and Wilcox for a 2-all tie, then Andy Hoyer singled to right and plated Lough for a 3-2 lead. Drew Cable followed with a sacrifice fly to center field that allowed Hovorka to score for a 4-2 cushion after four complete.
Wahama countered with a run in the top of the fifth, as Warth led the inning off with a single and Roush added a one-out single to put runners on the corners. Roush stole second to open up first base, which became important in the following at-bat to Stewart.
Stewart struck out, but the catcher dropped the ball and Stewart managed to get down the line in time to leave the bases loaded. Wesley Harrison followed with a walk that plated Warth, pulling the guests to within a run headed into the bottom of the fifth.
Dominic Rendinell, Golden and Wilcox all started the fifth with singles to load the bases, then Lough received a walk that plated Rendinell for a 5-3 edge. Nelson McKown lifted a sacrifice fly to center that allowed Golden to score for a 6-3 lead, then Hovorka blooped a double just inside the right field line - allowing Wilcox to score for a 7-3 contest.
Cable followed with a two-out double that plated both Lough and Hovorka for a 9-3 advantage after five full frames.
With two outs in the bottom of the sixth, Wilcox drew a walk and Lough legged out an infield hit to put runners on the corners. McKown followed with a two-RBI triple for an 11-3 lead, then Hoyer singled home McKown for a 12-3 lead headed into the seventh.
Wahama had zero hits in the seventh, but three Irish errors and a walk ultimately allowed the guests to plate three runs. With two outs, Oliver hit a line drive back to the pitcher - who knocked it down and made the throw to first in time to wrap up the six-run outcome.
Tyler Roush took the tough-luck loss after allowing nine runs, nine hits and two walks over five innings of work while striking out six. Garrett Miller worked two-thirds of an inning of relief and allowed three runs, two hits and a walk while striking out one. Dakota Sisk also allowed one hit and one walk in one-third of an inning on the mound.
Warth led the White Falcons with three hits and two runs scored, while Roush added two safeties to the setback. Stewart and Tyler Nutter also had a hit apiece for Wahama. Stewart, Warth and Harrison each had an RBI.
Hoyer was the winning pitcher of record, allowing three runs, seven hits and zero walks over 4.1 innings while striking out four. Hovorka worked 1.2 innings of relief and surrendered three runs, zero hits and one walk while fanning three.
Golden had three hits to lead CCHS, followed by Hovorka and Hoyer with two safeties apiece. Hovorka also had a game-high three RBIs.
For Wahama coach Tom Cullen, it was a bittersweet evening. He hated to see such a great run come to an end, but he was also proud that his seniors fulfilled one of their main goals for the season just by showing up Tuesday night.
“We didn’t just lay down and quit. We battled until the end, especially when we could have gotten down about how the way the game went late. And you know, Charleston Catholic also has a pretty good baseball team,” Cullen said. “I feel bad for our guys, but I am also really happy for these seniors. They wanted to get back to regionals for a fourth consecutive year, and we did that. We’re going to genuinely miss those upperclassmen, but we’ll be back.”
It was the final game for seniors Zac Warth, Hunter Oliver, Tyler Roush, Kevin Back and Matt Stewart in the Red and White.