PARKERSBURG -Parkersburg South rallied for three runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to notch a dramatic 7-6 win over visiting Parkersburg High Friday night when junior Josh Wells lashed a line single to left-center field to drive in the tying and winning tallies as the Patriots captured the Class AAA Region I, Section 2 championship in the third and deciding game of a two-team, best-of-three series at Hank Greenburg Field.
South, now 12-20, will play host to Wheeling Park in the regional semifinals at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, while the Big Reds finished their season at 14-15.
The Patriots saw a 4-0 lead after three innings entirely evaporate when PHS scored two times in the fifth and thrice in the sixth to surge ahead 5-4, then add another tally in the top of the seventh.
But in the last of the seventh, a leadoff walk to Dakota Robinson was followed by Tyler Berry belting an RBI double to deep left-center field. Alex Simon then smacked a wicked line shot to center to send Berry to third, and a steal of second put both base-runners in scoring position.
Not for long, though, as Wells, the next batter, stepped to the plate with still no outs and smacked a line single into left-center that chased both runners home as the celebration began for South.
“I knew he (PHS relief pitcher Logan Dudley, who just entered the game) would have to come at me because there were runners in scoring position and he wouldn’t want to get the bases loaded,” said Wells. “So I was just trying to look for a good pitch so I could hit it, and I got a fastball down the middle and happened to get a good shot on it.”
It was Wells’ first-ever game-winning hit for South to end a game, that saw him go 3-for-4 with a double and four RBIs.
“Throughout this season, we had a lot of ups and downs,” said South head coach Matt Null. “But I do believe we’re playing our best baseball now.”
The Patriots built their early lead with a four-run third that featured seven stolen bases, a Big Red throwing error that plated a run, a Wells two-run double and a Sam Boso RBI single.
But PHS battled back on Rex Windland’s sacrifice fly and Cole Parker’s run-scoring single in the fifth, and pinch-hitter Kyle Goodwin’s bases-loaded walk and a two-run outfield fielding error in the sixth to move in front.