WEBSTER COUNTY, Ky. (4/24/13) - A couple days of rain certainly didn’t dampen the momentum of the WCHS Trojan baseball team in the Second Region All ‘A’ Classic Tournament. After shutting out Crittenden County last Tuesday in semi-final action, the Trojans had to wait until Saturday for the championship game against University Heights Academy at Tradewater Park in Dawson Springs. The game was originally scheduled for Thursday but rain pushed back the contest.
But the Trojans maintained their solid play and ‘swagger’ to post the win and capture the second All ‘A’ Regional title in school history. The 2004 Trojans won the first title but were defeated by Heath in the State Sectional one-game playoff. The Pirates went on to win the All ‘A’ State Championship that year.
Ironically, this year’s Trojan squad will also play Region 1 champion Heath. The game is scheduled for Thursday at Brooks Stadium in Paducah beginning at 7:30 p.m. The winner will move on to Whitaker Bank Park in Lexington next week for the All ‘A’ Elite Eight portion of the state tournament.
“I’m very proud of these guys, they’ve fought through some issues and now seem to be coming together with a winning attitude,” noted WCHS head coach Tom Welshans. “This (title) is a big accomplishment for these eight seniors and they’ve earned it.” The Trojans began the season with a dismal 2-7 record but now have built a 11-11 mark and have a All ‘A’ Regional trophy to put on their mantel.
UHA grabbed an early 2-0 lead off Webster’s sophomore lefty Hunter Nichols. But a four-run rally in the second inning gave the Trojans a lead they would not relinquish. A leadoff triple from Nichols, plus consecutive walks to Jalen Wallace and Madison Melton loaded the bases for WCHS and set the stage for the dramatic uprising. Alex Mitchell, one of WC’s eight seniors, belted a two-run double over the leftfielder’s head to tie the game at 2-2 off UHA pitching ace Ryan P’Pool. One out later, another senior, Logan Prow delivered the second double of the inning, blasting a shot to centerfield to bring in Melton and Mitchell for a 4-2 WCHS lead.
“Winning baseball is about quality at-bats and timely hitting. We had both tonight. Those two hits were huge, they gave us confidence after surrendering a 2-0 lead. Our bats have come alive lately and Alex has really given us some big hits in the 8-hole,” Welshans added.
The Blazers (8-3) picked up a single run in the third on an RBI-single from P’Pool to make it 4-3. But the Trojans got that run back in the bottom of the frame after P’Pool hit Wallace and Melton with pitches to put runners at first and second. UHA reliever Preston Milburn came to the mound and Mitchell greeted him with an RBI-single to push the Webster lead to 5-3.
“Answering their rally with another run was huge. Hunter was struggling a bit with his command (of pitches) and had everything up in the strike zone,” Welshans explained. “He was so pumped-up and trying to over-throw everything. Once he got a bit tired, he settled down and his secondary pitches (curve, changeup) really starting working.”
An RBI-single from Haji Wisdom in the fourth gave the Blazers their final run of the game and cut the WCHS advantage to 5-4.
But once again, the Trojans answered with another run in the bottom of the frame. Logan Prow walked, stole second and advanced to third on a groundout. Milburn recorded a strikeout on Johnson for the second out of the inning but the UHA catcher dropped the third strike and his throw to first trying to get Johnson sailed wide, allowing Prow to score from third for the 6-4.
Nichols went the distance allowing eight hits while striking out six. He retired the blazers in order in the final three innings, including back-to-back strikeouts for the final two outs of the game.
“These kids just went out and took this title, they were not going to be denied tonight,” Welshans stated. “I believe they have that fire in them right now to keep this going. They want to move on to Lexington and make their own mark in WCHS history. We’ve played four games the past two years at Brooks Stadium so we feel really good about the neutral site. It should be a great atmosphere.”
Webster County 5
Crittenden County 0
Webster senior Brennan Pritchett was strong on the mound and also had a good day at the plate to lead the Trojans to victory in the semi-final round of the Second Region ‘All A’ Classic Baseball Tournament held at Tradewater Park in Dawson Springs last Tuesday. The Trojans (10-11) posted their second straight win in the tourney with the 5-0 shutout over Crittenden County (5-10). Pritchett allowed just six hits while striking out five. He was also aided by a very solid defense as the Trojans turned two double plays in the triumph.
“We’re really coming together as a team, doing the little things that enables you to win big games like today,” WCHS head coach Tom Welshans explained. “We’ve had pretty good pitching the entire season but now our defense is coming around and playing well behind our pitching. Good defense gives everybody confidence, especially our pitchers.”
Pritchett also jump-started the Trojan offense in the first inning, stroking a one-out single. He then stole second and came around to score the first run of the game on a passed ball. His second hit of the game helped fuel another WCHS rally in the fourth. Tyler Hedrick then drilled a double to score Pritchett. Jalen Wallace followed with another two-bagger to chase home Hedrick. A two-run single by Alex Mitchell gave the Trojans a solid 5-0 lead.
“We hit some shots tonight and looked pretty confident at the plate. We’re doing a much better job of not chasing the first pitch that looks good which usually means a groundout or pop-up out,” Welshans added. “The guys are much more selective at the plate and that leads to quality at-bats.”
Hedrick led the Trojans with a triple and double
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