Staying alive

PHILIPPI – Tyler Schiefelbein lofted a fly ball into right field in the bottom of the seventh inning, deep enough to score Chance Price with the winning run in a 4-3 victory over Grafton Tuesday in the Class AA sectional baseball tournament.

The game could have been over a batter earlier, but Doug Smith’s line drive into right field bounced over the fence for a ground-rule double, which forced Price to stop at third base.

The win propels Philip Barbour, 12-15, into the finals of the double-elimination sectional tournament. The Colts will play Liberty, 10-17, at 4:30 p.m. today in Clarksburg. The two teams tangled Monday, and Liberty came away with an 8-6 victory.

It was the second time in as many days that the Colts defeated Grafton. Philip Barbour opened tournament play with a 9-2 win over the Bearcats Monday.

“This (Grafton) game concerned me,” Philip Barbour coach Jonathon Carpenter said. “Grafton has a quality baseball team, and we were flat.”

Grafton, 6-18, broke a scoreless tie in the fourth inning when Justice Keener slapped a single into left field, scoring Thomas Peters and Chuck McCloy. But the Colts were able to avert any further damage when center fielder Al Johnson gunned down pinch-runner Zachary Miller attempting to score on a fly ball into the outfield.

“Al’s got a pretty good arm,” Carpenter said. “He has confidence that if he can catch the ball, he can throw them out.”

The play sparked the Colts, who erupted for three runs in their half of the fourth inning. Quentin Mouser stroked a double down the right-field line to bring in Schiefelbein and Zach Howdershelt to tie the game, and Mouser later scored on Saige Cline’s base hit.

“The bottom of our lineup carried us,” Carpenter said.

Josh Haddix took advantage of two Philip Barbour errors in the sixth, and Grafton knotted the game at 3. But Cline, who had shut down a Bearcat threat an inning earlier when he entered the game with the bases loaded and only out, coaxed two fly balls off of Grafton bats to end any further scoring chances.

He made a sliding catch in front of home plate of a pop-up for the first out of the seventh, allowing him to retire the side in order in the final frame. Cline picked up the win in relief of Mouser, pitching 2 2/3 innings and allowing only one hit and one walk.

Chuck McCloy was tagged with the loss for Grafton, which was eliminated from post-season play. McCloy went the distance, giving up seven hits, walking one and striking out one.