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King reigns, pitches 'Dogs to final

June 06, 2009|By JOHN RABY

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- State baseball player of the year candidate Brandon King has Martinsburg in the Class AAA championship game for the first time in 14 years.

King threw a one-hitter and drove in a run as the Bulldogs beat Logan 8-1 in the semifinals Saturday at Charleston's Appalachian Power Park.

Martinsburg (27-9) advances to today's championship game for the first time since winning the 1995 title. Last year the Bulldogs lost 10-0 to Nitro in the semifinals in a game stopped after five innings due to the 10-run mercy rule.

Martinsburg got ahead quickly against Logan (25-9), scoring twice in the third, four times in the fourth and twice more in the fifth.

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"Last year we did face probably one of the best teams ever," said Martinsburg coach John Lowery Jr. "It was definitely nice to come and be able to stay another day."

King (8-2), who remains uncommitted in his college choice, struck out 10 and walked six with several scouts in the stands.

Lowery said he didn't hesitate to let King throw a complete game instead of saving him for the championship game because the Bulldogs have other quality pitchers.

King singled in the third for his 55th RBI of the season. After Logan starter Todd Fleming (6-2) issued a walk, he hit Zack Stolipher in the back on a pickoff attempt at first base. The ball got away, enabling Ryan Bennett to score for a 2-0 lead.

With the bases loaded in the Martinsburg fourth, T.J. Weisenburg hit a chopper back to the mound. Fleming threw wildly to home and two runs scored. Austin Nealey added an RBI flyout and Ryan Bennett had an RBI double, chasing Fleming.

Stolipher doubled to lead off the Martinsburg fifth off Logan reliever Ronnie Abbott and took third on a wild pitch before scoring on a grounder by Noon Jordan for a 7-0 lead. A passed ball brought another run in.

Logan, which returned to Class AAA this season after winning the Class AA title a year ago, got its lone run in the sixth. The Wildcats were hurt by four errors.

"Brandon did a great job. He had us right where he wanted us," said Logan coach Roger Gertz. "We kind of self-destructed, too. Normally we play real good defense. But today wasn't the day. You can't make mistakes against a team like that."

Martinsburg will go for its fourth state title in school history.

Martinsburg 8, Logan 1
Logan 000 001 0 -- 1 1 4
Martinsburg 002 420 x -- 8 8 0

Fleming, Abbott (4), Butcher and Vinson. King and Jordan, Hovermale (6). WP -- King (8-2). LP -- Fleming.

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