Ritchie bests Belpre 12-1 in five innings

BELPRE – An eight-run fourth inning was the difference in Friday afternoon’s baseball game at Civitan Park as visiting Ritchie County won 12-1 over Belpre in five innings.

Winning pitcher Andrew Davis hit a sacrifice fly in the first inning and the now 13-10 Rebels added three more tallies in the third on an RBI groundout, a double by Trevor Shepler and a wild pitch/passed ball to build a 4-0 lead.

But Belpre (2-14) got a run back in its half of the third on a Ritchie error before the Rebels erupted for their 8-spot in the fourth, sending 12 batters to the plate.

Three consecutive RBI hits – run-scoring singles by Davis and Tyler Reed followed a two-run, two-bagger by Shepler made the count 8-1. Later, Dylan Frye singled in a run, two more came across on errors and D.J. Burgess’ RBI single chased home the final Ritchie run.

Shepler led the 14-hit Rebel attack with two doubles and three RBIs while Reed went 3-for-4 with two RBIs.

A trio of Ritchie hurlers – Davis for two innings followed by Seth Cottrill for two and Burgess for the final frame – combined on a five-hitter, with the Golden Eagle getting a single each from five different players – Joey Byers, Hayden Plummer, Tavian Miller, Mike Simoniette and Ryan Leasure.

”We hit the ball well today and drove a lot of them, so I’m pleased,” said Ritchie head coach Dan Vanoy. ”But we’ve gotten pretty solid hitting most of the time this season. It’s just been the errors that have really cost us in a lot of games. If we make the routine plays throughout the year, our record’s probably 19-3 instead of 13-10.”

If the Rebels can win at Parkersbug Catholic at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, ”I think that assures us of the No. 2 finish probably behind St. Marys in the LKC North, so that’ll get us in the LKC playoffs,” said Vanoy of the four-team event next Thursday and Friday at Roane High School in Spencer.

For Belpre head coach Terry Mullen, the latest loss in a long season so far comes down to ”we aren’t making the plays on defense behind our pitchers. Today, we were in the ball game for a couple innings and after that, they just started hitting the baseball. But I think Ritchie was probably the best overall team we’ve played this year.”