Ripley claims W.Va. big-school title

June 06, 2004|By JOHN RABY

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - An extra day to rest for Ripley ace pitcher Josh Whitlock was all coach Ray Swisher could have hoped for.

Friday's state tournament rainout allowed Swisher to turn to Whitlock in the Class AAA championship game.

Whitlock followed up his successful start in the semifinals against St. Albans two days earlier by getting the win in long relief Saturday night as Ripley beat Fairmont Senior, 6-3.

"The rain gave us a break on pitching. Josh felt like he could come back," Swisher said.

Whitlock picked up his 16th win in 17 decisions. He and Dale Kestner drove in two runs apiece for No. 6 Ripley (27-7), which which won its first title since 1997.

Unranked Fairmont Senior (26-9) lost in the championship game for the second straight year.

"We didn't back down," said Fairmont Senior coach Steve Naternicola.

Both starters were chased early.

Fairmont Senior's Nathan Meadow relieved Jason Gallagher after just seven outs. Gallagher tossed his glove in disgust on the dugout steps upon being removed.


Down 2-0, Ripley scored five times in the third inning, with two runs coming on a triple by Kestner.

Whitlock and Zeb Reed had RBI doubles in the inning. Kestner scored the fifth run on a wild pitch.

Weir 6, Shady Spring 2

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Weir's intention to exploit Shady Spring's suspect defense worked out nicely.

No. 6 Weir got only four hits but scored four runs on errors and a wild pitch to beat Shady Spring for the Class AA championship.

Weir captured its first state baseball crown since 1959, when games were played under a one-class system.

The Red Riders had to wait an extra day after Friday's title games were postponed due to rain.

"It was worth it. I would have waited until next month to play," said Weir pitcher Brandon Coxen, his face streaked in black paint. "We wanted this too bad. It's all we've been talking about the whole season."

Both teams have only one senior, but it was Weir (25-7) that held up under the pressure.

"Our kids were loose coming into the park, but when they got out on the field, everything tightened up on them," said Shady Spring coach David Shaw. "I guess they realized they were in the state championship game and it was just a big thing for them. They didn't play up to par."

Pendleton County 5, Van 4

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Logan Godfrey had so few hits this season, he probably could have counted them on both hands.

Those hands are now holding the first state championship trophy in Pendleton County's six-year history.

Godfrey's RBI single in the bottom of the 10th inning lifted Pendleton County over Van in the Class A title game.

Godfrey, a junior who hit .180 during the regular season as the backup catcher to William Simon, was forced into the lineup when Simon left with an injury in the eighth inning.

"It's fortunate our catcher got hurt. But I stepped in, did my best, and it paid off," said Godfrey, covered in dirt from head to toe.

"I just thought about hitting the ball in the (batting) cage. I hit the ball well in the cage."

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