By Brad Morris
Patience was a virtue on Wednesday for the Westfall baseball team.
Locked in a scoreless game, the Mustangs finally pushed across a pair of runs in the seventh inning and held off host Adena for a 2-0 Scioto Valley Conference win.
“It was probably one of the best high school baseball games that I’ve been involved in,” Westfall coach Trevor Thomas said. “Both teams were pitching well and playing outstanding defense.
“We kept telling our guys that we were right where we needed to be and we finally broke through there in the seventh.”
The win allowed Westfall (15-6, 12-2) to secure at least a share of its second consecutive conference championship. If Unioto (16-4, 10-2) would falter in one of its two remaining conference games against Huntington or Adena (10-10, 9-4), the Mustangs would claim the title outright.
“I know this championship means a lot to guys like Luke Blackburn and Titan Williams who were starters on the 2019 SVC championship team and also for guys like Peyton Weiss and Ashton Nunemaker who were part of that team, as well,” Thomas said. “Those guys wanted to win the title and felt like they had to win it to keep what we started in 2019 going. I also think they wanted to win it for the guys who couldn’t play last year with the season being canceled (for the COVID-19 pandemic).”
Like most teams who took to the diamond for the first time in two years this spring, the Mustangs’ lineup was dotted with several new faces. Thomas credited the senior leadership of Blackburn and Williams for helping to bring the team together and maintaining a championship-level of play.
“Luke and Titan are both four-year guys for us. Titan batted leadoff and played center field as a freshman and Luke was our ace by the time he was a sophomore,” he said. “Luke, Titan and also Peyton and Ashton as juniors stepped up and held the other guys accountable.
“There are things we expect if kids are going to get playing time on the team and those guys did a nice job of communicating that and being leaders to bring our younger players along.”
Westfall’s Caden Foreman singled to left with one out in the seventh and still was on first base after the second out.
A double that landed between four players in center allowed Foreman to advance to third and Seth Gifford to reach second. Hunter Wright then worked a walk to load the bases.
Trent Walters then hit a grounder to shortstop and reached on an error that allowed both Foreman and Gifford to score.
“We were able to get (Nate Throckmorton’s) pitch count up there in the seventh and we were able to take advantage of a couple of miscues to score,” Thomas said.
Weiss allowed a single with one out in the bottom of the seventh, but responded with a strikeout and then coaxed a groundout to end the game.
The Westfall junior threw 92 pitches, 71 of which were strikes, in the complete game win. Weiss scattered seven hits, walked none and struck out five batters.
“Peyton pitched an outstanding game, he didn’t walk anyone, he limited Adena’s hits and he was able to get out of a couple of jams,” Thomas said. “Our defense behind Peyton was just tremendous.
“Luke threw a runner out from his knees at third base and then Titan made a couple of really nice diving catches in the outfield. When you get the pitching and defense we’ve had for most of the season, you get to be in a lot of ballgames.”
Throckmorton allowed five hits and a pair of unearned runs to take the tough loss for the Warriors. He walked four and struck out two.
Gifford went 2-for-3 to lead the Mustangs at the dish.
The Mustangs host West Jefferson today for a non-conference game.
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