The Generals (14-16) appear to have hit their stride, winning four of the last five games, including a 5-2 victory over defending Class AAA champion Princeton in a Mountain State Athletic Conference placement game.
Winfield received a pair of sterling pitching performances in the best-of-three Section 1 tournament against Point Pleasant, limiting the Big Blacks to two runs in two games. In fact, in victories over Spring Valley (9-0) and Point Pleasant (2-0), the Generals earned their first two shutouts of a very trying season.
Shortly after a 9-8 loss to Spring Valley on March 30, pitching ace Mason Dillon was off the team. Pitcher Dana Harper also was suspended for a violation of team and school policy.
Harper is back, providing the team with pitching depth while the other parts come around.
A steady defense led by shortstop Brandon Wright, an offense led by Jordan Clark and the combined pitching, hitting and defensive efforts of senior Josh Bumgarner have helped Winfield reach the regional semifinal for the second consecutive year.
Clark is batting a team-leading .376, while Bumgarner is at .372. Bumgarner also has a 7-3 pitching record with 36 strikeouts and team-low 3.24 earned run average in 36 2/3 innings.
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CHARLESTON CATHOLIC is two games from earning its third consecutive State Tournament berth when it faces Wahama (18-11) today at Point Pleasant.
The heavily-favored Irish (25-9) have beaten the White Falcons by a combined score of 36-5 in two meetings, including a 24-3 victory at Mason on April 30.
Charleston Catholic has won 13 of its last 14 games and hasn't lost to a Class A team since an 11-8 defeat to Valley at Smithers on April 18.
Leading the Irish bats is senior Rocco Wilcox, who is batting .429 and has walked a team-leading 39 times. Wilcox is one of six Catholic players batting above .350.
The ace on the Irish pitching staff is senior Kiefer Hovorka, whose 1.31 earned run average leads the team, He's also second on the team in strikeouts with 65 in 53 1/3 innings.
The winner of this game advances to Wednesday's Region 4 championship game at the winner of the Gilmer County-Parkersburg Catholic.
Contact Assistant Sports Editor Rich Stevens at richstev...@dailymail.com or 304-348-4837.