Prep baseball: Midland's Kinker subdues Beckley bats
Cabell Midland's Seth Kinker didn't have a hit in the Knights' 5-0 Class AAA State Tournament semifinal victory over Beckley on Friday.
Turns out, with the junior on the mound, the Flying Eagles' almost didn't either.
Kinker threw a gem at Beckley (20-11), spoiling its first trip to the State Tournament since 2007, putting the Knights in the championship game against Hedgesville (28-7) at approximately 4:30 p.m. today at Appalachian Power Park.
"I'm known for pounding the zone, definitely, that's my big thing," said Kinker who gave up just two hits and a walk with eight strikeouts. "I kept the ball down. I've kept the ball down my last four starts, and that's what has been the key for me."
The performance dropped Kinker's earned run average from 1.98 to 1.78 and increased his season strikeout totals to 76 in 702/3 innings.
Beckley Coach Mark Daniel, whose team reached the state championship game in 2007, was impressed.
"He threw strikes, that's the bottom line," Daniel said. "He threw strikes, we didn't. We walked guys, hit batters, and three of those scored. That's uncharacteristic of us."
Cabell Midland got to Beckley senior starter Hunter Greco early, scoring three runs in the second inning and another in the third. Greco, who won the Region 3 championship game, lasted only 21/3 innings, giving up three earned runs with four walks.
Offensively, Kinker was 0-for-4, but did his damage from the mound. He didn't allow a hit until the fourth inning, carrying a perfect game to that point. Beckley's Hunter Halstead had a double and leadoff hitter Cole Williams added a single.
"Threw a heck of a game," Cabell Midland Coach Tracy Brumfield said. "As the game went on, his velocity got faster and faster. I thought he had good pop, his slider was working well, his two-seamer was working well. I tip my hat to him."
Cabell Midland scored five runs, but produced just three RBI -- one each from Taylor Kuhn, Brady Elkins and Eric Wooten.
The Knights had just six hits with six players getting at least one.
Then again, not much was needed.
"I had fun out there," Kinker said. "I know if we put up a couple runs, I'm going to do alright out there. Get some run support ... we have a great team. We were live in the dugout, we have confidence. We've had confidence for a month and a half now."
The win was the 11th straight for Cabell Midland, which will try for its first state title since 2003 today against Hedgesville.