Timely hits, Creek’s miscues lead Weir High to OVAC final
WEIRTON — Weir High trailed twice and saw a lead get away Saturday.
However, thanks to some timely hits to take full advantage of No. 4 seed Indian Creek errors, the top-seeded Red Riders were able to persevere and will play for an OVAC title after a thrilling 8-6 win at Edwin J. Bowman Field in the Class 4A semifinal.
“Both teams struggled in the field a little bit and both teams battled,” Weir High head coach Dave Cowden said. “It was back-and-forth. That was certainly worth the price of admission if you bought a ticket.
“Both games we’ve had with them were a battle. We just got one more hit than they did in the crunch time, but (Indian Creek) is a very good team.”
With two outs in the bottom of the sixth, a throwing error by the Redskins allowed the tying run to score and kept the inning alive. Then, after Redskins (9-7) ace Aiden Fernandez had to exit after throwing 120 pitches, Mason Drobish ripped a two-run triple, which gave the Red Riders (7-2) all they needed to advance to face St. Clairsville later this week for the trophy.
“I told the kids they are battlers, they fought the whole way,” Cowden said. “We weren’t sharp right out of the gate, they jumped ahead of us, but it was back-and-forth. I give our kids credit for being battlers.”
The miscue was the fourth charged error for Indian Creek in the game — Weir High had three — following a chance to add to what was a 6-5 lead in the top of the sixth go by the wayside due to base running errors on a bunt attempt turning one out into three.
“I told the guys fielding mistakes are going to happen, I’d love to cut down on them, but they’re going to happen. But, the mental mistakes were just way too many (Saturday),” Indian Creek head coach Mike Cottis said. “We had guys throwing the ball all over the place, base running mistakes. We did not deserve to win this game.
“We had a chance to put the nail in their coffin (in the sixth) and ran ourselves right out of an inning. We’re a veteran team that should not be making those mistakes.”
After getting back within one but leaving the bases loaded in the third, the Red Riders took their first lead with a four-run fourth inning, the big hit coming on a Jack Scopel two-run single to make it a 5-2 lead.
The Redskins jumped to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first, then used a four-run fifth inning to re-take the lead with a two-run double from Corey Cottis, an RBI double from Isaiah Vandine and an RBI single from Cam Franke, all with two outs.
“Aiden pitched his butt off,” Cottis said of Fernandez, who struck out 11. “His pitch count was up and it shouldn’t have been that high. Again, we were throwing the ball around and booting easy ground balls, and it makes him work twice as hard. I feel bad for him because he pitched a great game.
“We have a lot of season left, we have bigger games coming. Hopefully we can fix it.”
Tyler Kelly got the win for the Red Riders, tossing six innings, striking out four. Anthony Dematteis came on in the seventh to record the save, stranding two Redskins runners in scoring position.
The two teams are tentatively set to have a rematch on Monday in Mingo Junction in what will be their third meeting of the season.
OVAC Class 4A Semifinal
Weir High 8, Indian Creek 6
Indian Creek 2-0-0 0-4-0 0 — 6 6 4
Weir High 0-0-1 4-0-3 x — 8 6 3
INDIAN CREEK (9-7): Fernandez (LP, 5 2/3IP, 7R, 5ER, 4H, 11K, 2BB, 2HBP), Morris (1/3, 1R, 0ER, 0H, 1K, 1BB) and Ferroni. Ferroni D, RBI; Cottis S, D, RBI; Vandine D, RBI; Franke S, RBI.
WEIR HIGH (7-2): Kelly (WP, 6IP, 6R, 4ER, 6H, 4K, 2BB, 3HBP), DeMatteis (SV, 1IP, 0R, 0H, 1K, 1BB) and Scopel. Taflan RBI; Scopel S, 3RBIs; Drobish T, 2RBIs; Kelly S; Wilhorn S, RBI.