Point blanks Indians in opener

SISSONVILLE, W. Va. — It’s difficult to find fault with a season-opening shutout victory.

The Point Pleasant High School baseball team accomplished just that on Thursday night, as the Big Blacks opened the season with a 3-0 blanking of the host Sissonville Indians.

Point Pleasant scored a run apiece in the third, fourth and seventh innings, while pitchers Tristan Austin and Cody Sockwell combined for a four-hit shutout.

The contest marked the season opener for both squads.

Point Pleasant had six hits, but only one of its three runs was earned — and the Big Blacks actually left seven runners on base.

But behind the efforts of the starter Austin and reliever Sockwell, the Indians only amounted four baserunners — all on their four hits with none of the Indians advancing beyond second.

Austin tossed the first five innings and earned the win, allowing all four hits with no walks and four strikeouts.

He faced 19 batters with 44 of his 68 total pitches going for strikes.

He retired the side 1-2-3 in the first and third innings, and faced only four batters each in innings four and five.

Sockwell worked the final two frames for the save, retiring all six Indians he faced with bookend strikeouts.

Exactly two-thirds (14) of his 21 total pitches went for strikes.

The Indians’ only hits were singles by Trent Bodnar and Caden Carpenter in the second inning, a leadoff double by Josh Landis in the fourth, and a one-out single by T. Moore in the fifth.

Chris Lush led the Big Blacks at the plate by going 2-for-4, singling in the opening and final innings and scoring the final run in the seventh on a combination of a passed ball, stolen base and dropped third strike.

In the second stanza, Austin led off with a walk and Derek King singled, but the Big Blacks didn’t push a run across until the third.

With one out, Sockwell reached on an error, advanced on a James Littlepage walk and passed ball, then scored on an Austin single.

In the fourth — and again with one out — Justice Chapman singled, then pinch runner Garrett Litchfield scored on a combination of a stolen base, a Kaleb Beckner walk, a Lush single and another passed ball.

Zach Boggess started for Sissonville and pitched the first three innings for the loss, while Landis went the final four and struck out seven.

Each allowed three hits apiece, with Boggess walking two and Landis one.

Landis retired the Big Blacks 1-2-3 in the fifth and sixth innings.

Point Pleasant played Parkersburg at home on Friday night, and hosts Wahama on Monday night with first pitch set for 7 p.m.

Paul Boggs can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2106