Warriors win sectional baseball championship
The PCHS Warriors won their third sectional championship in a row with a 4-1 victory over the Midland Trail Patriots on May 12. The Warriors were undefeated in the sectional round, defeating the Patriots on May 9, Richwood on May 10 and Midland Trail again last Thursday in the sectional championship game.
Freshman P/3B Brandon Hamons pitched a no-hitter, throwing nine strikeouts and giving up just three walks.
Hamons said he felt good on the mound, except for part of the sixth inning.
"I felt real good for the first five innings," he said. "Then, in the sixth, I struggled a little bit. In the seventh, I had the seven, eight and nine batters up and I just felt pretty good on the mound, since I knew they weren't powerful hitters and I could just throw strikes and get three outs. I felt real good."
Hamons said he has three main weapons in his pitching arsenal.
"I have a knuckle ball, a fast ball and a curve ball," he said.
The freshman ace said his outside fastball was working for him particularly well in the championship game.
Junior OF Dalton Walker started a rally in the first inning with a single, advancing to third base with a steal and a balk. Junior P/SS Steve Halterman got the RBI with a hard ground ball and the Warriors held a 1-0 lead until the fourth inning.
In the fourth, Hamons got on base with a single but was thrown out at second on a fielder's choice. Wes Felton walked, advancing Cody Sharp to second base and Walker drove in Sharp with a two-out single.
In the fifth, the Patriots made a big mistake when they walked speedster Halterman. The lanky junior proceeded to steal second and third bases and scored on a wild pitch, giving the Warriors a 3-0 lead into the sixth inning.
In the top of the sixth, Hamons walked Patriot Cody Howell. Howell advanced to third on a Warrior fielding error and scored on a second fielding error. Slightly rattled, the Warriors recovered. Patriot Jamie Gray chopped a fair ball in front of the plate and catcher Matt Arbogast threw him out to end the inning.
In the bottom of the sixth, Cody Sharp hit a lead-off single and coach Mike DiPasquale inserted Garrett Sharp as a pinch runner. Arbogast laid down a fine bunt, advancing Garrett Sharp to second base. Felton followed up with an RBI double, giving the Warriors a 4-1 lead.
Hamons gave up a two-out walk in the top of the seventh, but threw his ninth strikeout to end the game and secure the no-hitter.
DiPasquale said it was a great day for Warrior baseball.
"I could do this every year," he said. "It never gets old. We've got a great group of kids. Brandon pitched a heck of a game. We played a heck of a game. We made hits when we needed to. It doesn't get any sweeter."
The coach singled out Walker, Felton and Halterman for special praise.
"Wes Felton had a nice double," he said. "Dalton, in the first inning, got on base and we brought him around to score. That was great. Anytime you get your lead off runner on to start the game and get him to score- you can't beat that. Stevie's play in the fifth inning, when he came around on a passed ball and saw the catcher was falling asleep. There was nothing that I did there. That's just basic instinct on Stevie's part."
The Warriors advance to a regional playoff game on May 24 at Valley (Fayette) in Smithers. First pitch is scheduled for 5:30 p.m.
Game statistics: RBIs: Halterman; Walker; Felton. Runs: Cody Sharp (2); Halterman, Walker. Stolen bases: Halterman (2); Walker; Felton. Doubles: Felton (2).
Team leaders: Batting average: Walker, .420; Halterman, .414; Hovorka, .348; Felton, .345; Hamons, .323. RBIs: Halterman, 25; Hamons, 17; Plumley, 16; Felton, 12; Hovorka, 10. Stolen bases: Walker, 22; Halterman, 17; Felton, 9; Plumley, 7. HRs: Hamons, 2; 3Bs: Halterman, Walker, Hovorka, Hamons. 2Bs: Felton, 8; Halterman, 8; Hovorka, 7; Walker, 5. ERA: Clark, G., 4.70; Halterman, 6.16; Hamons, 8.00; Felton, 9.73. Fielding (>40 TCs): Arbogast, .986; Walker, .953; Plumley, .948; Halterman, .936; Sharp, C., .865.