Prep baseball: Midland's postseason mastery of Hurricane continues
HURRICANE, W.Va. - Cabell Midland leadoff hitter Jacob Beahrs said he's a better golfer than baseball player.
For at least one moment of his baseball career, the senior was the most important player on the field.
Beahrs singled to right field to score Cole Tilley from second base in the top of the eighth inning as the Knights ended Hurricane's season for the third time in the last four years with a 1-0 victory in the Class AAA Region 4 semifinal Monday at Lola Meeks Memorial Field.
The Knights (22-10) advance to Wednesday's Region 4 championship game at Winfield, which upset Logan 5-0 in the other regional semifinal.
Cabell Midland was successful in one chance where Hurricane (25-4) was not in several - taking advantage of a mistake.
Tilley reached base with one out in the top of the eighth with a bunt and an overthrow of first base by Hurricane sophomore pitcher J.T. Rogoszewski. Following a groundout by No. 8 hitter Eric Wooten to Rogoszewski - his sixth assist of the game - Beahrs slapped a 1-0 pitch into right field. With two outs, Tilley scored easily from second base.
"I almost didn't give Cole the bunt," said Cabell Midland Coach Tracy Brumfield, Tilley's stepfather. "Somebody made the comment, 'You guys bunt.' I said, heck with it, I'm going to bunt him.' I was thinking, 'Right now, we're not hitting the ball.'"
Beahrs said his hit, which wasn't quite a line drive but wasn't quite a bloop single either, came as a result of him fighting off a pitch.
"Bloop drive," Beahrs said. "That's a drive for me.
"He had me all game on that curveball and slider outside. I think it was a slider outside. I just fought it off. I was fouling everything off straight back and away the whole game. I finally got my foot down and happened to dink it out there."
In three previous at bats Beahrs, a .256 hitter with just seven RBI entering the game, was 0-for-3 with two strikeouts.
However, he managed to face 17 of Rogoszewski's 95 pitches, fouling off four.
"I was looking to be aggressive and get that runner in," he said. "He (Rogoszewski) owned me all day. He struck me out twice and I grounded out to first. It feels good that my baseball career isn't over. All of my emotion came out, I was going crazy when we got the last out."
The Knights' opportunities were few and far between. Cabell Midland had one other runner reach second base - on a one-out double by junior Seth Kinker in the fourth inning.
The Redskins also turned in some defensive gems, including a 1-6-3 double play in the second inning, and two runners caught stealing.
Offensively is where Hurricane struggled, getting just one hit. In fact, the hosts best chances to score came in the fifth and sixth innings when Kinker hit the leadoff batter. In the fifth, Austin Hensley was caught looking and Zach Pate and Trey Dawson flew out.
In the sixth, Alex Dunham was hit by a pitch and stole second, but Riley Metz hit into a fielder's choice on an attempted bunt to eliminate the lead runner. Tate Brock lined out and Connor Adams was caught looking.
In the seventh, Pate led off with Hurricane's second hit, but Dawson struck out, Alex Dunham popped out to first base and Metz struck out swinging.
"We had one inning with a runner on second and no outs and we didn't get a bunt down, we didn't move him up and didn't get the big hit," Hurricane Coach Brian Sutphin said.
Kinker struck out 11 Hurricane batters, including four that ended innings. His seven shutout innings dropped his earned run average from 2.30 to 2.04. Kinker averaged 1.02 strikeouts per inning entering the game.
Hurricane averaged just 3.8 strikeouts per game.
"I thought Kinker threw the ball really well," Sutphin said. "We didn't have many chances, but we had a couple. They had one crack with runners in scoring position and they got a hit to fall and we didn't."
He hit four batters, putting himself into jams that he had to battle out of.
"Last year I pegged 20 kids," Kinker said. "It's nothing new to me. I know there's a runner on first base and they're going to try to get him over to second. I just have to keep pounding the zone. They had two bunt opportunities and one was right back to me, so I threw it to third and got the out. The other one, the kid struck out.
"They were hugging the plate, so I was working in. I hit four of them, but it doesn't really matter now. We got the win and it was a great win."
Contact Assistant Sports Editor Rich Stevens at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-348-4837.