BECKLEY, W.Va. -- Logan Wriston watched his fly ball sail toward the fence in left centerfield, unsure if it would reach the wooded area beyond the 385-yard sign.
The Flying Eagles' smallish center-fielder had four home runs last season as a sophomore, but hadn't hit one in 2013.
Then, the ball ricocheted off a tree beyond the fence and back into the field, giving Beckley a three-run lead toward a 7-1 win and its first Class AAA Region 3 championship since 2007.
"He threw a lot of curveballs, so it's going to take a toll on your arm," Wriston said of Riverside starting pitcher Cam Norris. "I knew I had to change something when I struck out the first time. I picked it up from there."
Wriston's momentum-swinging blast helped send Beckley to the State Tournament semifinals on May 31 against Cabell Midland at approximately 7:30 p.m. at Appalachian Power Park.
Perhaps the best part of Wriston's home run was that it came after the Warriors (13-16) intentionally walked No. 2 batter Hunter Greco.
"You just have to clear your mind and focus on the pitch," Wriston said on Norris pitching around Greco to reach him. "Definite payback, for disrespecting me."
The decision by Riverside Coach Chris Hawkins to pitch around Greco was the result of his performance in two meetings this season against the Warriors. Greco was 1-for-3 in their first meeting, but 4-for-4 with a double and an RBI against Norris on April 29 - a 5-3 Beckley victory. Wriston was 1-for-4 with an RBI in that game.
"We haven't gotten Greco out in two games," Hawkins said. "With a base open, we had a really good scouting report. We wanted to go after him and Wriston stepped up and made it hurt."
The Flying Eagles (20-10) poured it on in the fourth inning, using a hit batsman, a walk and a Jacoby Webb double, followed by back-to-back squeeze bunts for a 7-0 advantage.
Norris had only 13 balls in the 38 pitches he threw the first three innings, so Beckley knew strikes were coming.