MASON, W.Va. — All good in this neighborhood.
The Wahama baseball team improved its seasonal mark to 14-1 at Claflin Stadium on Thursday night with a thrilling 3-2 victory over second-seeded Williamstown in a Class A Region IV, Section 1 winner’s bracket final held in Mason County.
The top-seeded White Falcons (23-5) never trailed in the contest as the hosts built a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first, but the YellowJackets (20-9) answered with two runs in the top of the fourth to pull even.
The Red and White, however, responded quickly as Ethyn Barnitz, Tyler Bumgarner and Jacob Fisher all singled to load the bases, then a throwing error at third allowed Barnitz to come home with the eventual game-winner.
That one-run cushion proved to be more than enough support for Wahama starter Antonio Serevicz, who allowed just one hit and three total baserunners from the fifth inning on. None of those three baserunners advanced beyond first base as well.
Serevicz ended up picking up the winning decision after allowing two unearned runs, two hits and one walk over seven innings while striking out nine. The southpaw retired the first 10 Williamstown batters and also retired the side in the top of the fifth.
Following a game that blended a lot of key ingredients together, Wahama skipper Billy Zuspan spoke about his team’s ability to once again come away with the desired result.
“We preach all the time about the importance of having pitching and defense, because that’s what wins baseball games. Offense gives you the opportunity to win, but pitching and defense wins baseball games … especially this time of year,” Zuspan said. “Antonio gave us a jewel tonight and Tanner (Smith) gave us one the night before against Ravenswood. It’s been a big part in getting us where we are right now.
“We’re playing really good baseball and there’s a little bit of fight in this group. I couldn’t be any prouder of them for where we are right now, but we are in no way anywhere near where we want to be,” Zuspan said. “We’re in a good spot in the sectional, especially since someone is coming here for the next one. We really enjoy playing at Claflin Stadium because we take a pride in playing at home. We’ve been pretty good here this year.”
The White Falcons built a 2-0 lead in the top of the first on a leadoff single from David Hendrick, who advanced to second on a groundout. Tanner Smith doubled in Hendrick for a quick 1-0 advantage, then Serevicz helped his own cause with a two-out single that plated Smith for a two-run cushion.
Leewood Molessa ended the perfect game after being hit by a pitch with one away in the fourth, then Trenton Lynch singled to put runners at first and second with two away.
Cullen Cutright reached on a two-base error that allowed both Molessa and Lynch to come plateward for a two-all contest midway through the fourth.
Wahama outhit the Maroon and Gold by a 6-2 overall margin and also committed only one of the three errors in the contest. The hosts stranded four runners on base, while Williamstown left three on the bags.
Molessa took the loss after surrendering three earned runs, six hits and one walk over six frames while fanning seven. Molessa retired the side in half of his six innings of work.
Hendrick, Smith, Barnitz, Serevicz, Bumgarner and Fisher provided a hit apiece for the victors. Molessa and Lynch has the lone safeties for the YellowJackets.
Wahama awaits the loser’s bracket champion and returns to action Tuesday at Claflin Stadium. The time of the event has yet to be determined.
Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.