Bridgeport, Martinsburg advance
Bridgeport and Martinsburg advanced to the championship game of the Little League 10-11-year-old state tournament with wins Wednesday in semifinal action at Melvin Heckle Fields at Riverbend Park.
Bridgeport and Hurricane met in the first semifinal with Bridgeport dominating the fourth and fifth innings, taking the contest 23-7. Martinsburg used another good pitching performance and pulled away from Barboursville 13-0 in the second semifinal.
Bridgeport scored first against Hurricane as A.J. Goodwin led off in the top the first inning with a single, went to second base on an error, stole third base and later scored on an error.
Hurricane took the lead in the home half of the first when Cole Bumgarner singled and later trotted in when Austin Dearing blasted a home run over the center-field fence.
Emily Riggs, who started on the mound for Bridgeport, struck out the side in the bottom of the second inning.
The top of the third saw Bridgeport put three more runs on the scoreboard. After Gabe Zummo reached on an error, Nick Stalnaker singled and both runners advanced on a wild pitch. Ben Mossburg singled in Zummo and Drew Harbert hit a two RBI double.
Hurricane tied it up in the bottom of the stanza. With two outs, walks were issued to Brendan Lewis and Austin Dearing. They were brought in on a triple by Jacob Cooper.
Hurricane put out Bridgeport’s first batter of the fourth inning but then everything started falling apart. Nine straight batters reached base, punctuated by Riggs’ grand-slam home run. Mossburg and Jaidyn West both had RBI singles and Goodwin was walked in.
Bridgeport started hitting the ball with ease in the fifth as it sent 18 batters to the plate in the inning. The Harrison County team scored 12 runs on 11 hits, a walk and three errors. Riggs added to her RBI total by hitting a two-run double and a run-scoring single.
Dearing belted his second home run of the day for Hurricane in the bottom of the fifth and two more runs scored on three more hits but it was too little, too late.
In addition to her success at the plate, Riggs threw a complete game and recorded 10 strikeouts on the mound for Bridgeport.
Martinsburg’s Ashton Staubs and Bryce Ferro combined for a two-hit shutout over Barboursville in the nightcap.
Chase Delauter got the eastern panhandle team rolling at the plate in the second inning. After a single by Ryan Barger and a walk issued to Nick Wright, Delauter belted a three-run homer over the right-field fence.
Martinsburg scored another run in the third inning when Tyler Gall started with a double and later scored on an error.
Two more runs were plated in the fourth. Delauter reached on an error and eventually scored on a wild pitch. Gall drove in Trey Sine, who had singled previously.
Martinsburg ended the game in the fifth due to the 10-run mercy rule when seven more runs crossed the plate.
In the inning, substitute Eli Demick and Gall had RBI doubles. Another sub, Brayden McDaniel, had a two-run double.
However, the highlight was the second home run of the night for Delauter.
Bridgeport and Martinsburg will meet at 6 p.m. today at Riverbend Park to decide the state Little League champion.
The champion will advance to the Tournament of Champions on July 27 in Greenville, N.C.