By Brad Morris
Matt Farmer was Matt Farmer on Monday night.
And that’s almost always a very good thing for the Teays Valley Vikings.
Farmer checked visiting St. Charles to four hits and an unearned run over six innings in leading the Vikings to a 4-1 Division I Central District sectional semifinal win.
“St. Charles faced Matt in our season opener, so they knew he was going to be around the plate and that they had to swing the bats,” Teays Valley coach Mark Colburn said. “It really didn’t matter, because Matt was Matt and he just competed and exceled out there on the mound. He’s just an incredible luxury to have as a coach.”
The senior right-hander threw 70 pitches, 52 of which were strikes, and started all but three of the 24 batters he faced with a first-pitch strike.
Teays Valley tied the game in the third inning.
Ben France lined a single to right and advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by Hayden Wells and a ground out to first by Jeremiah Fabbro.
Landon Vandegrift then jumped on a 1-0 pitch and lined a single to left center to knock in France.
“We did a nice job of advancing Ben along to third with a couple of nice team at-bats and then Landon did a nice job of getting the barrel to the ball and going backside to drive Ben in,” Colburn said.
Teays Valley took the lead with a three-run sixth.
Thomas Sites reached on a fielder’s choice for the second out of the inning and was joined on the base pads when Landen McFarland lined a single to center and France worked a walk.
A throwing error on the shortstop on a ground ball hit by Wells allowed Sites to score.
Fabbro then lined a 0-1 pitch into right center, driving in pinch-runner Wes Henderson and France.
“We put some pressure on the defense and they made a mistake and then Jeremiah got the barrel to the ball and had a really night hit to right center that gave us a little bit of a cushion,” Colburn said.
Wells came on in the seventh and nailed down the save, retiring the Cardinals in order and striking out a batter.
“Hayden came in and shut the door, just like we wanted him to,” Colburn said.
McFarland went 2-for-3, France singled and scored twice and Fabbro singled and drove in a pair of runs.
The Vikings (16-7) travel to Lancaster (17-9) on Wednesday for a sectional final.