Eighth-inning magic carries Parkersburg

PARKERSBURG – A seven-run eighth inning snapped an 8-8 tie and lifted host Parkersburg Post 15 to a 15-8 victory over Beckley Post 32 in the opening game of the Area 3 American Legion baseball tournament Wednesday night at Bennett Stump Field in City Park.

The win moves Post 15, now 23-12, into today’s 6 p.m. Area 3 tourney tilt versus top seed South Charleston Post 94 at Sissonville High School. Meanwhile, Beckley, now 15-12-1, awaits the loser of tonight’s game to see who it plays next at 6 p.m. on Friday in an elimination contest – either versus Post 15 back at City Park or against South Charleston at Sissonville.

On Wednesday, after Post 15 and Beckley were deadlocked at 8-all after 4 1/2 innings, neither scored again until Parkersburg came up with the decisive seven-spot in the bottom of the eighth to make a winner of Anthony Kist, who hurled the final 1 2/3 frames in relief of starter Clayton Cottrille.

For Post 15 in the eighth, Adam McCray – who went 4-6 with four RBIs – banged out his second two-run double of the game while Austin Cottrell – who had three hits – singled in two tallies and Paul Fichtelman doubled in another two with a run also scoring on a Beckley error.

Parkersburg took a 2-0 lead in the first on a run-scoring wild pitch and Jonathon Murphy’s RBI double, only to see Beckley plate four in the second to grab a 4-2 advantage.

But in the third, a wild pitch and a Fichtelman groundout each brought home a run before Murphy hammered a solo homer deep over the centerfield fence to give Post 15 a 5-4 lead.

Beckley, though, went back ahead 6-5 in the top of the fourth on Jay Webb’s two-run double. But Post 15 came back with a three-spot in the last of the fourth on Jordan Braniff’s RBI single and McCray’s first two-run two-bagger to go up 8-6. However, Beckley notched two game-tying tallies in the fifth.

“We stayed with Cottrille as long as we possibly could and he did a good job,” said Post 15 manager Jim Goodwin. Cottrille, in his 7 1/3 innings, fanned six and walked only two while Kist gave up only an infield single and hit a batter in his time on the mound to close out the game.

“We knew Beckley wouldn’t go quietly,” said Goodwin. “But our kids stepped up tonight when we needed them to, and hopefully they can do it again against South Charleston.”