MASON, W.Va. — A fitting farewell.
The Wahama baseball team celebrated Senior Night festivities in style on Tuesday following a 9-0 victory over visiting Wirt County in a non-conference contest on Cook Field at Claflin Stadium in Mason County.
The White Falcons (14-9) were solid in all three phases of their regular season home finale as the hosts stormed out to a 6-0 lead after two innings and never looked back.
After a scoreless first, WHS sent 11 batters to the plate in the bottom of the second frame — which led to six runs on a hit, four walks, three errors and a hit batter. Tyler Bumgarner scored the eventual game-winning run after an error allowed Wyatt Edwards to reach safely for a 1-0 advantage.
The Red and White increased their lead in the third inning as Jared Oliver singled home Bryton Grate for a 7-0 edge, then David Hendrick came around on an error that allowed Philip Hoffman to reach safely while increasing the lead to 8-0.
Hoffman added the final run in the fifth with a ground out that allowed Hendrick to score, completing the final nine-run outcome. Wahama also claimed a season sweep of the Tigers (8-10) after posting a 15-2 win at WCHS back on April 14.
Seniors Philip Hoffman, Jared Oliver, Nyles Riggs and Wyatt Edwards were honored after the game for their four-year careers with the program — with highlights that include a trio of Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division championships and a pair of Class A state titles.
WHS coach Tom Cullen was pleased that his quartet of upperclassmen received a proper send-off in their final regular season home game. More importantly, the venerable mentor believes that his troops are starting to hit their stride as the tournament trail looms.
“It’s exactly how I hoped to send these seniors out. Philip pitched well, we played well and we hit the ball a little bit … though I’d like to see us hit it a little better. All in all, it was a good night for the kids and I hope we can keep that going over the next few weeks or so,” Cullen said. “Those four seniors are excellent young men and excellent baseball players, in that order. They’ve been good leaders, and they’ve always worked hard and done what was asked of them. I’d say it’s paid off for them over their four years.
“Honestly, we are ready. We’ve seen some really good pitching and some really good teams in our league, so we feel that we are ready to make another run in the postseason. I also feel like we starting to peak at just the right time.”
The White Falcons — winners of two straight and 3-of-4 overall — outhit the guests by a 6-2 margin and also committed only one of the five errors in the contest. The hosts stranded 11 runners on base, while Wirt County left only two on the bags.
Hoffman was the winning pitcher of record after allowing two hits over seven innings while dominating the game with 15 strikeouts. Thompson took the loss for WCHS after surrendering five runs (two earned), two hits and three walks over an inning-plus of work.
The Tigers ultimately used five different pitchers in the setback.
Hendrick led the hosts with two hits, followed by Oliver, Hoffman, Riggs and Tanner Smith with a safety apiece. Oliver, Hoffman and Bumgarner each knocked in a run, while Hendrick and Bryton Grate scored two runs apiece in the triumph.
Smith and Silva had the lone hits for the Tigers.
Wahama completes its regular season schedule on Wednesday when it travels to Parkersburg Catholic for a non-conference matchup at 5 p.m.
Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.
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