St. Marys to meet Man for first time
ST. MARYS – Never mind that Man has a scouting report on St. Marys.
When it comes times for the first pitch of the Class A semifinal contest between the two schools, St. Marys is going to rely on Blue Devil baseball. That means a potent offense combined with a deep pitching rotation.
Game time today at Appalachian Power Park in Charleston is scheduled for 30 minutes following the first Class A semifinal game between Gilmer County and Notre Dame.
The two programs did not meet during the regular season.
“We’ll just go down there and play ball,” St. Marys designated hitter Tyler Davis said.
We haven’t lost to a Class A team yet. They have 11 losses, but we’re not holding that against them.”
In addition to opening the season with 15 straight wins, St. Marys (29-2) also has a 12-game winning streak to its credit. The Blue Devils’ only losses occurred on the road to Class AA programs Ravenswood and Bridgeport.
“We’ve been working on this for four years,” St. Marys outfielder Jarrod Lough said. “We want to achieve our biggest goal and that is win it all. There will be a lot of nerves – probably more than there were in the regional finals.
“There were a good bit of nerves in the regional finals, but once we hit the field in Charleston it will be pretty crazy.”
St. Marys’ potent offense scored in double figures on 20 different occasions. The Blue Devils looked destined for No. 21 after scoring four runs in the first inning of last week’s 6-3 victory in the regional finals against Bishop Donahue.
In attendance for St. Marys’ first regional title since 1990 were scouts representing Man.
“Magnolia had Bishop Donahue down 6-2 in the final inning and they came back, so we knew we had to play until the seventh inning,” Davis said.
Winners in five of its past six games, Man advanced to the state tournament by defeating Greenbrier West 3-1 in the Region III title game. According to St. Marys coach Ed Wilson, the 19-11 Hillbillies have two lefties at the top of their pitching rotation.
On the flip side, St. Marys boasts four pitchers with perfect records -Garrett Furr (4-0), Tyler Davis (4-0), Michael Stout (6-0) and Matt Houser (3-0). Senior Robbie Harper earned the win in the regional semifinal against Clay-Battelle and improved to 9-2.
“Our pitchers have hit their spots all year,” St. Marys catcher Johnny Riggs said. “A lot of other teams have two or three really good pitchers. On our team, pretty much everybody in the dugout can pitch.
“That makes it great because we always have a fresh arm to get us through a game, and that’s been really crucial on our rotation.”
As a junior, Stout has been in a zone. Especially his past three outings against Williamstown, Ravenswood and Bishop Donahue. In his complete-game victory against the Bishops, Stout struck out 10.
The Blue Devils are seeking their first state title since 1981.
“This year, I feel I’ve matured more and controlled myself on the mound,” Stout said. “Against Bishop Donahue, the nerves actually never really disappeared. I had jitters the whole game – that was the most important game we played.
“I’ll probably have the jitters at state if I get the chance to pitch. It’s just the way it is.”