Game Recaps: Class AAA State Semifinal Action

By Greg Williams
WV Director of Scouting

Day one of the 2015 West Virginia state tournament began resulted in two favorites advancing to Saturday's AAA title game, but the path to Saturday was vastly different in each game.

Nitro 2,  wheeling park 1 

Nitro junior righty Jacob Bradley (top right), a Marshall commit, and Wheeling Park's senior right-hander Michael Grove (bottom right), a WVU recruit, matched up in a good old fashioned pitcher's duel in the day's first game. Both went the distance with the final result hanging in the balance until the final out.

Nitro cracked the scoring column first in the top of the 2nd inning when Bradley reached on an infield single and Jacob Williams drove home courtesy runner Waugh with a two out single.

Michael GroveSenior Kipp Brewer, a West Virginia State recruit, walked in the 4th inning, advanced to second on a passed ball and scored on a one out single by freshman Levi Kelly to push the lead to 2-0.

Kelly, a highly touted pitching prospect that committed to LSU earlier this spring, affected the game with his bat and his glove in this game. Playing right field, Kelly dove for a Justin Delbrugge line drive to right with one out in the 6th inning. Although he came up empty, the freshman scrambled to his feet and made a perfect relay to the infield that resulted in Delbrugge being cut down at the plate attempting to stretch the triple into an inside-the-park home run.

Bradley carried the 2-0 lead to the bottom of the 7th inning looking to closed out a complete game shutout, but Wheeling Park refused to go quietly. A Grove triple, a hit batter and a sacrifice bunt allowed the Patriots to shave the lead to 2-1. Following a walk and a second hit batter, Bradley faced a one-out bases loaded jam while clinging to a one run lead. The junior buckled down and induced a fielder's choice that resulted in an out at home and retired the final Patriot via a strikeout to help the Wildcats to advance to Saturday's title game.

jefferson 6, greenbrier east 4

Paul WittThe result was expected, the way in which the game played out was not. For much of the night the No. 1 ranked team in the Class AAA PBR Elite Eight rankings looked like the big stage was too much for them. Junior shortstop Paul Witt (right), a VCU commit, made three big plays in the 7th inning to vault the Cougars into Saturday's title game however.

It was Greenbrier East that looked like the team that entered with 35 wins on the season early. A lead-off triple by Colby Johnson followed by a Tyler Canterbury single led to a 1st inning 1-0 lead for the Spartans. Jefferson plated a run in the top of the 3rd inning to knot the game at one but Greenbrier East added a three spot in the 4th inning to take a 4-1 lead. The inning was culminated when Canterbury intentionally drew a pick-off attempt at first base and stayed in a run down long enough to allow to runners to cross the plate. 

Jefferson answered with two runs in the 4th and one in the 5th to set up Witt's heroics in the bottom of the 6th inning. Brody Price began the inning being hit by a pitch and promptly stole second base. Following a flyout to left field Witt came up big with a lengthy at bat that resulted in an RBI single to left field to give the Cougars their first lead. Witt then stole second, advanced to third base on a balk and stole home when Charlie Barnholt walked and got hung up in a run down with two outs.

Sophomore Austin Cross, who entered with a 5-1 record, worked the final 3.1 innings for the win. The lefty registered five strikeouts and allowed just one hit in picking up his sixth win of the season.

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