Irish advance to Class A title tilt

CHARLESTON – Notre Dame will seek its first-ever state title in baseball after claiming a 15-6 victory over Gilmer County Thursday in Class A semifinal action at Appalachian Power Park.

The Irish, winners of 12 straight games, will face Man at 10 a.m. Saturday in the championship game. Man defeated St. Marys, 3-1, in Thursday’s late game.

“We wanted to come to the plate and be aggressive,” Notre Dame coach Patrick Marozzi said. “I’m real happy we decided to bring the bats today.”

The Irish offensive attack was led by Anthony Belcastro, who had a two-run single in the fourth and a two-run double in the fifth.

Notre Dame led 9-2 entering the bottom of the fifth inning before the Titans used a two-run double by Seth Skinner to cut the deficit to 9-5.

Gilmer County then loaded the bases in the sixth but was unable to get any closer, as the Irish blew the game open with a six-run outburst in the seventh.

Winning pitcher T.J. McKinsey had a bases-clearing double to highlight the rally.

McKinsey went five innings, allowing five runs on seven hits.

Nathan Allison tallied a two-run single in the third for the Titans, who ended the season 25-11.

Adam Beall took the loss, surrendering seven runs on four hits in four innings.

“Even after we fell behind, I thought we were going to find a way to get this thing done,” Gilmer County coach Joe Frashure said. “This was good for us and I’m glad our kids got the opportunity.

“I do wish we would have played better, but we lost to a real good team.”

Man 3, St. Marys 1

  • Braden Griffin shut down St. Marys’ high-powered offense to lead Man to a 3-1 victory Thursday in Class A semifinal action.

The Hillbillies will be looking for their first state title when they face Notre Dame at 10 a.m. Saturday in the championship game.

Griffin allowed just one run on three hits in 6 1/3 innings. He fanned six.

Ryan Adkins earned the save, getting a game-ending double play.

Man (20-11) took a 2-0 lead on Griffin’s RBI double in the first and Tyler Blair’s run-producing single in the fifth.

The Blue Devils, who entered the tournament averaging double digits in runs, plated their lone score on Johnny Riggs’ RBI groundout.

The Hillbillies tacked on an insurance run in the sixth on a wild pitch.

Harper took the loss, allowing three runs on seven hits in a complete-game effort. He struck out six and walked three.

Matt Houser had a pair of hits to lead St. Marys at the plate.