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Cougars roar into title game

June 05, 1998

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - Junior left-hander Josh Cenate struck out 11 while giving up just three hits as Jefferson beat Ripley 4-0 Thursday in a Class AAA state high school baseball semifinal.

Jefferson's victory avenged a 2-1 extra innings loss to Ripley in the 1997 championship game.

''From the beginning of the year I said I wanted to face them. It might have been sweeter if it was for the championship game but that's where we're going,'' said Cenate, who threw a no-hitter in last Thursday's regional final.

Jefferson (27-6), which has won five state baseball titles, advances to today's championship game at Watt Powell Park to play South Charleston (22-15), a 6-3 winner Thursday over Elkins.

Dylan Hetzel gave Jefferson a 1-0 lead in the first inning after singling, moving to second on a walk to Cenate and scoring on a single by Justin Osbourn.

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Ripley (28-7) had its best scoring chance in the bottom of the inning when it loaded the bases on two walks and a two-out infield single by Russ Vannest. But Cenate struck out Morgan Clendenin to end the threat.

''I wasn't throwing any strikes in the first inning but I got out without any trouble,'' Cenate said.

Jefferson made it 2-0 in the third when Cenate's sacrifice fly scored Desmond Williams. Hetzel scored again on another single by Osbourn in the fifth for a 3-0 lead.

Williams scored Jefferson's final run in the seventh after singling and moving to third on a wild pitch by Ripley starter Justin Thompson and a bunt by Hetzel. After Cenate walked, courtesy runner Scott Tiano then deliberately got caught in a rundown between first and second, allowing Williams to score with two outs.

Ripley, meanwhile, managed just three singles, two of which came on an infield hit and a bloop hit to right field.

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