Blue Dons Fall to Yellowjackets 12-9 in Game 3
photo by: Kerry Patrick
WILLIAMSTOWN — Williamstown coach Levi Maxwell figured plenty of runs would come into play for Wednesday’s Class A, Region championship game with Madonna.
The coach was spot on as the outcome developed into a war of attrition as both teams relied on the fate of freshman relief pitchers.
Yellowjackets’ Carson Hill proved most effective in his 2 1/3 innings of work and earned the win as Williamstown advanced to the state tournament for the second straight year with a 12-9 victory over the Blue Dons in the deciding game for the best-of-three series.
“Anytime you get down to a three-game series, pitching can kind of go off the table a little bit,” Maxwell said. “Our guys did enough to get by and win the game.”
Williamstown improved to 26-5 and moved into a semifinal contest against an opponent yet to be determined. The Yellowjackets will play at 10 a.m. next Friday at Appalachian Power Park in Charleston.
The Yellowjackets trailed 8-7 before taking advantage of three Madonna errors in a four-run fifth inning and moving in front to stay at 11-8. The fifth inning ended a series of three lead changes which occurred during the middle innings.
“Both teams were at the bottom of their pitching staffs and it was going to be a matter of who made the fewer amount of mistakes,” Madonna coach Jeff Baire said. “At the end of the day, these were two really good ballclubs.”
Madonna, which called on sophomore Marquise Parker as its starting pitcher turned to freshman Lucas McAllister for the final 2 2/3 innings. McAllister entered the game with one out in the bottom of the fourth inning and a runner on first base and the Yellowjackets leading 5-3. His first batter, Leewood Molessa, fell behind in the count 1-2 before the Yellowjacket senior delivered a no-doubter over the left field fence for a two-run home run.
“The kid worked a really good count — kudos to him, he almost got me,” Leewood Molessa said. “Madonna threw well this whole series.”
The Blue Dons chucked the ball in the infield for three fifth-inning errors and Hill supplied part of the the offense with an RBI double. Madonna got one run back in the sixth on Matt Amaismeier’s RBI single. Earlier in the third inning, the senior hit a solo homer to tie the game at 3.
Williamstown’s final run crossed home plate in the home half of the sixth inning. Luke Ankrom led off with a double and eventually scored on Chase Barkley’s sacrifice fly.
Responsible for making the 12-9 lead stand up, Hill retired the 7-8-9 hitters in the Madonna lineup — including consecutive strikeouts to secure the state championship berth. In both of Williamstown’s title clinching wins, in sectionals against Tyler Consolidated and against on Wednesday against Madonna, a Yellowjacket freshman earned the win.
“I’m just so proud of our freshmen,” coach Maxwell said. “The underclassmen — we are pretty hard on them, tough on them and make them work hard. We treat them like they are seniors and the respect they get in those situations goes a long way.”
Behind three hits from Amaismeier and McAllister, Madonna outhit Williamstown 13-12. Multiple individuals contributed to the Yellowjacket attack, including Ty Ott and Coleman both finishing with two hits and a pair of RBIs.
“I think getting back to the state tournament is good for the young guys to be able to have that experience of big-game situations,” Molessa said. “We had a couple of younger kids come through tonight in big situations and throughout the year, so it’s good for future years and good for the next game.”
Parker Schramm, who pitched a complete game victory the previous day in an elimination game for Williamstown, added an RBI double in the clincher.
“After we scored five runs in the second inning on Tuesday, my confidence just went up from there,” Schramm said. “I was throwing ground balls and the team was making plays. My confidence was really high because we did score those runs.”
As for the respective starting pitchers, Marquise allowed six runs over 3 1/3 innings, striking out two and walking two. Coleman gave Williamstown 4 2/3 innings and surrendered eight runs on 11 hits with five strikeouts and two walks.
“It was nervewracking there on the mound,” Hill said. “When you have a defense like ours, you just go out and pitch. I thought Coleman would go all the way. He is a really great pitcher. At the end of the game, I was just very excited. It was pretty amazing.”
Madonna, which rallied from the 7-3 deficit with a five-run fifth inning, closes out the campaign at 15-18. The Blue Dons graduate four seniors, but for all practical purposes lose only one of their bats in the starting lineup.
“I’ve said before, I don’t believe our record was indicative of what kind of team we are,” Baire said. “It took a few minutes to figure out who we were. We figured it out just before sectionals and gave ourselves an opportunity”