WHEELING - Parkersburg South needed a spark.
The Wood County Patriots were fresh off a 2-1 defeat to Wheeling Park in the first game of a doubleheader and were looking at a 4-2 deficit in the top of the seventh in Game 2.
Tre Jackson then gave his team new life as the senior doubled deep into centerfield to score Jacob Wilcox and Claton Walters as South had to use an extra inning to complete the comeback and beat the Ohio County Patriots, 8-5, Saturday at Wheeling Park High School.
Parkersburgh South’s Braxton Johnson, bottom, dives to first after being caught stealing. Tagging him for the out is Wheeling Park’s Chalmer Moffet. View additional photos at cu.news-register.net
It was the third time in the last four games that Park had played into extra innings, but the first time the team found itself on the losing end. The loss snapped a five-game winning streak for the Patriots (17-2).
''It was a little bit sloppy by both teams,'' Wheeling Park coach Mike McLeod pointed out. ''Sometimes you win sloppy games and sometimes you lose sloppy games. When you have a rival, you start thinking about the region and everyone who plays in it ... you know, they're kids. They're going to make mistakes."
"But hopefully, you're the one who makes the least mistakes, but you win some and you lose some.''
Park seemed well on its way to win No. 18 as the Patriots' bats rallied around the arm of freshman Phil Bledsoe, who was making his first career varsity start, and jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first two innings.
South (12-7) tied the game in the fourth when Tyler Berry tripled to give Jackson and Hunter Hamilton time to cross the plate.
Park reclaimed the lead in the fifth when South pitcher Brad Brubaker couldn't control a line drive by Ethan Jacobs as Eric Banks was able to score to make it 3-2.
The Ohio County Patriots added another run as Michael Grove drove in Justice Jackson to stretch the lead to two.
Following Jackson's two-run double in the seventh, Hunter Hamilton then drove in the senior to give South its first lead of the game, 5-4.
''We just have to play pitch to pitch,'' South coach Matt Null said. ''You never know when it's going to happen.''
Park forced extra innings when a Michael Grove two-out single drove in Jacobs for the tying run.
Wilcox broke the tie in the eighth as he hit one deep into right field that scored Brad Brubaker and Braxton Johnson.
Wilcox capped the scoring as he crossed home plate while the Park defense was busy trying to tag out Clay Walters.
A.J. Easter fanned three of the five batters he faced in the bottom half of the eighth to cap the win for South.
''We didn't really play sharp all day,'' Null said. ''Wheeling Park is a good ball club, they capitalize on those kinds of things. But, give credit to our kids, they kept battling. We made some plays down the stretch to come out with the win.''
South finished with 10 hits, six in the final two innings.
''It's like we tell our kids,'' McLeod said, ''we got the bullseye on our back. You come into a game 17-1, and everyone wants to knock you off. Like I told them, 'they're coming and knocking on the door and they want to hit you in the mouth. So, what are you going to do about it?' We responded in the first game and we got a little lackadaisical late in the second game, but we'll move on from there.''
With the victory, South helps its chances in the OVAC Class 5A race, as the Patriots are battling to be the tournament's fourth seed. If successful, they will likely face Park again in the first round of the tournament.