Prep baseball: Winfield knocks off Logan in regional semis
WINFIELD, W.Va. - The dream run continues for the Winfield baseball team as the Generals defeated Logan Monday night to advance to the Class AAA Region 4 championship.
Despite a losing record at 15-16, Winfield has played its best baseball at the most crucial time, the postseason. The Generals maintained that trend with a 5-0 victory against visiting Logan (20-10) to advance to play host to Cabell Midland in the regional championship 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.
"We've got a formula that we try to pitch to contact, make the plays, run the bases and put the ball in play, and when we do those things, we can compete," Winfield Coach Will Isaacs said. "We've done that in the last week or so in the regular season and the sectional and then tonight."
Senior Josh Bumgarner stymied the Logan hitters en route to Winfield's third shutout in its past four postseason contests. Bumgarner tossed a complete-game one-hitter, striking out seven.
Logan produced big offensive outputs against Winfield in the regular season in 10-1 and 11-2 wins, but Bumgarner limited the powerful Wildcats bats in the elimination game Monday.
"I knew I would have good stuff, but I was hoping that it would work," Bumgarner said. "I knew this lineup is full of studs and they've beaten us twice, scored a lot of runs on us, so I knew I would have to keep the ball down, get the off-speed slider working and it did. Everything worked to plan."
After not playing baseball his sophomore and junior years, Isaacs said Bumgarner, as a senior, has provided a charge to the Generals.
"Josh has been a life-saver this year," Isaacs said. "He didn't play the last two years, then came out. I tried to talk him into playing last year. He wouldn't play last year."
Now, as Bumgarner gets back to baseball form, he's adding pitches to his repertoire.
"He threw his slider really well," Isaacs said of Bumgarner's performance Monday. "We only started throwing his slider the last four or five outings, because he had two years off. We had gone fastball, curve, but then we started incorporating a slider and his slider was fantastic tonight. That was a real difference-maker."
Prior to one-hitting Logan, Bumgarner (8-3) tossed a one-hitter in a 2-0 victory against Point Pleasant in sectional play on May 8.
In addition to his pitching prowess, he provided great lift for the Generals at the plate against Logan. Bumgarner hit a two-out, two-run single in the bottom of the sixth inning to extend Winfield's lead to 5-0, the eventual winning score.
The Generals scored the game's first run in the bottom of the third inning on Bumgarner's other RBI hit. With two out and a runner on third base, he hit a line drive back to Logan starting pitcher Troy Burgess. The liner hit Burgess in his glove hand before deflecting to the third base side of the infield. The Wildcats third baseman fielded and threw to first, but not in time to throw out Bumgarner as the run scored.
In the third, Jordan Clark provided the big blow of the game with a one-out, two-run double that gave Winfield a 3-0 advantage.
As the Generals offense added runs, Bumgarner continued to perform in dominating fashion on the mound. Wildcats first baseman Alex Lakatos recorded Logan's lone hit on a single up the middle in the third inning. Logan advanced a runner to second base just twice in the game.
"He just mixed it up, moved it in, moved it out," Logan Coach Roger Gertz said of Bumgarner's outing. "We got ourselves out a lot, which is the quality of a good pitcher, making the hitter get themselves out, and we did."
In the seventh, Bumgarner struck out the side to cement the win.
Winfield's victory propelled the Generals to the program's second consecutive regional championship appearance.
"It's pretty special, two years in a row," Bumgarner said. "Hopefully, we can get it done this time and get on to the state championship for the first time in (Class) AAA. It's going to be pretty special on Wednesday."
With the win, Winfield advances to play Midland for a berth in the State Tournament. The teams split their regular season series with Winfield winning 8-2 on March 22, before falling 10-0 to the Knights on April 9.
"I really like the way Cabell Midland plays, because they remind me a lot of us," Isaacs said. "They'll bunt, they run the bases well. They pitch and play good defense.
"They try to do fundamental things and play for a run an inning, so I think it'll be a very enjoyable, very fun game. We're looking forward to the matchup."