Cabell Midland slugs past SV, 12-5
SPRING VALLEY — Coming off a loss on Tuesday, Cabell Midland knew that they had to be dialed in to knock off a Spring Valley team, who earned an emotional extra-inning win to advance.
The Knights kept their cool in a tense atmosphere, using the hot hitting of the heart of the order, plus a yeoman’s effort on the mound from Cameron Smith to earn a 12-5 win over the Timberwolves in the Class AAA, Region IV, Section 2 elimination game on Wednesday night.
With the win, Cabell Midland (16-11) advances to the championship game to face Hurricane. The Knights must beat the Redskins twice to earn the title.
“We had some guys with big hits in that game,” Cabell Midland coach Tracy Brumfield said. “I knew it was going to be tough coming in here with us coming off a loss and them getting a win last night, but our guys stepped up.”
Knights center fielder Easton Petitt continued a strong postseason for the Knights, going 4-for-4 with six RBIs in the contest while catcher Peyton Weekly went 2-for-4 with a pair of home runs and three RBIs to fuel the charge.
The biggest blows from each came in the top of the seventh with the game still hanging in the balance.
After a controversial call raised the intensity level and left both sides jawing as umpires discussed the proper ruling, the Knights struck what would be the game-clinching blows.
Petitt lined a two-run triple to right field and then Weekly jumped on the next pitch, sending it over the softball bleachers in left field for a home run that extended a three-run lead to its final margin and put any thought of a comeback out of reach.
Both Petitt and Weekly said the composure during tense moments was crucial for their team in the win.
“We handled it pretty well today,” Weekly said. “Even fans were getting wound up. In football, you can do that, but baseball, you’ve got to keep your cool. We did a good job of that and didn’t let it all affect us.”
“I know those guys and they’ve coached my little brother,” Petitt said. “We just have fun. With baseball, you can’t be serious and tight all the time. You’ve got to be loose and play the game. After all, it’s just a game.”
With both teams featuring players who have played together and against each other for years, the rivalry is one of the best around and that could be felt in the air at Spring Valley on Wednesday with both teams keeping their energy levels high in the dugout.
Spring Valley (18-11) took a 2-1 lead after a two-run home run by Wyatt Milum in the bottom of the first inning, but the Knights countered with three in the top of the second — two of which came on an RBI single from Petitt — to take a 4-2 lead.
From there, Smith did a good job of pitching to contact and letting his defense work, which allowed him to get through the middle innings in quick order with a lead.
Spring Valley cut the advantage to 5-4 in the fourth following a sacrifice fly from Seth Damron and an RBI single off the third-base bag from Bryson Hayton, but Smith followed with his biggest inning in the fifth when he retired the 2-3-4 hitters for the Timberwolves in order in nine pitches to maintain the lead.
“Cameron threw a hell of a game,” Brumfield said. “We were hoping to get four or five innings out of him and he went six.”
While there was tension during the game between the sides, there was respect afterward as Spring Valley’s Hunter Bellomy made it a point to come over after handshakes to wish the Knights luck as they move on.
It is what makes the rivalry special, according to Spring Valley coach Austin Pratt.
“It makes it fun, for sure,” Pratt said. “It’s intense during the game, but there is mutual respect there after the game. Those boys play together during the summer, but they definitely don’t like each other during high school, which is good. It’s good for ball. It’s postseason baseball and they’re all competitors. That’s what you want.”
In addition to Petitt and Weekly, Chad Heiner also had three RBIs for the Knights, who got 11 RBIs from the 2-3-4 spots in their lineup.
Petitt credited the bottom of the lineup for putting those hitters in position to succeed.
“It was a good day and we were seeing the ball well,” Petitt said. “You’ve got to give credit to those bottom guys for turning the lineup over for us. It’s a whole team effort.”