WEBSTER SPRINGS – Greenbrier West opened the second week of the regular season with a resounding 17-5, 5-inning win on Monday evening. Dale Boone belted both a double and a triple with 4 RBI while Ethan Holliday tripled and notched 4 RBI as well.
The Cavaliers got off to a quick start against the Highlanders. Braydon McClung led off the game with a walk after drawing a full count against Webster County pitcher David Adkinson. David Lester advanced McClung to third with a single to the right side, and Holliday scored McClung on a sacrifice fly. Boone followed with a triple that rocketed over right fielder Trace Wood, scoring Lester for a 2-0 lead. Cole Vandall collected an RBI on a sharp ground ball down the line that plated a Boone run. Bradley Hodge entered the game to courtesy run for Vandall who would be making his first start of the season on the mound. Hayden Ridgeway advanced Hodge to third with a right field single. After Adkinson got a second out via a strikeout, Dakota Hamrick drew a walk that loaded the bases for the Cavaliers. Tanner Hagy hit a sharp grounder to Webster County shortstop Ryder Miller and reached on error, scoring Hodge and giving West a 4-0 lead. Adkinson induced a ground ball out to end the half-inning.
Vandall looked crisp in his first start, pumping strikes across the plate as he overpowered Highlander batters. Vandall tossed only one ball in ten pitches of work, striking out the side in dominating fashion.
The Cavaliers efficiently worked Adkinson again in the second inning. Lester led off with a walk followed by Holliday. Boone stroked a line drive double to right field, adding 2 more RBI to his total and staking West to a 6-0 lead. Vandall drew a full count walk and Ridgeway followed with a fielder’s choice to second base to score Boone. Ramsey stepped in and was hit by pitch to put runners at the corners for the Cavaliers. Ramsey promptly headed to second on the first pitch to Hamrick, but Adkinson recorded a strikeout for out number two. Hagy added to West’s lead with an RBI single, but Adkinson curbed the Cavalier momentum with a ground ball out at first. Greenbrier West led 8-0 heading into the bottom of the second inning.
For a cool spring evening, the long top half of the second inning did West hurler Vandall no favors. Vandall tried to keep his pitching arm warm and loose in the dugout, but he found the results to be a little different the second go-around. After Grayden Channell grounded out from the lead-off spot, the Highlanders loaded the bases after a hit batsman and two consecutive walks. Vandall dug deep and struck out Isaac Snyder, but Webster County got on the scoreboard when Vandall struggled to find strikes. A walk, hit batsman, and another walk made the score 8-3, forcing West head coach Matt McClung to make a change. Holliday came in to relieve Vandall and walked in another run, but the threat ended when Holliday got Channell to fly out to right field. Webster had climbed back in the game and trailed 8-4 after two.
The Cavaliers could only muster a slight rally in the top of the third inning when Lester doubled from the leadoff spot. Lester stole third base with Holliday at the plate, but relief pitcher Daniel Gaye got Holliday to go down swinging. Boone grounded out to first base, scoring Lester for a 9-4 advantage. Vandall grounded out to the shortstop with the Cavaliers holding a 5-run lead.
Holliday got into some early trouble with a walk and a single in the bottom of the third inning. Holliday buckled down to strike out Logan Brown on three pitches, but another walk loaded the bases for the Highlanders. Holliday got Wood to strike out but with three on and two out, walked Miller to bring the score to 9-5. Ridgeway came in to relieve Holliday and struck out Carl Mustoe to end the third.
The Cavaliers began to blow things open in the fourth inning. Ridgeway led off with a single and proceeded to score on Ramsey’s single to centerfield. Hodge and Hagy walked to load the bases, and Ramsey scored on McClung’s sacrifice fly. Lester walked on a four-pitch at-bat, and Holliday cleared the bases with a 3-RBI triple to the left field fence. Holliday plated a run on a passed ball, but the inning ended on a Boone fly out and Vandall strikeout. West had built a 15-5 lead, though, and a pitching change was on the horizon.
McClung took the bump for Greenbrier West, and the junior had the comfort of a 10-run lead to work with. Daniel Gaye took McClung to a full count before striking out looking. McClung battled to find the strike zone and issued two straight walks. McClung settled down and picked off Channell at second. John Gaye then grounded out to Vandall and McClung was out of the inning.
West added two insurance runs in the top of the fifth inning. Ridgeway scored on a Ramsey RBI single. Ramsey then scored on a 1-out, RBI from Daron Vaughan. Up 17-5, McClung shut the Highlanders down in the bottom of the fifth with a pair of strikeouts and a flyout to secure the win.
The Cavaliers improved to 2-1 with the win with games against Nicholas County and Midland Trail remaining on the schedule for the week. Greenbrier West hasn’t lost to Webster County since the 2003 season. The Cavaliers split with the Highlanders that season and ultimately advanced to the Class A state championship game, falling to Matewan in the title tilt.
GW: 4 4 1 6 2 – 17 11 0
GW: 0 4 0 0 0 – 5 1 2
GW: Vandall, Holliday, Ridgeway, McClung and Lester. WC: Adkinson, D. Gaye, Miller, Mustoe and J. Gaye. WP- Vandall LP- Adkinson. GW: Boone 2-4, 2B, 3B, 4 RBI; Ramsey 2-4, 2 RBI; Ridgeway 2-4, RBI; Lester 2-4, 2B; Vandall 1-4, RBI; Hagy 1-4, RBI; Holliday 1-4, 3B, 4 RBI; Vaughan RI; McClung RBI. WC: D. Gaye 1-3; J. Gaye RBI; Wood RBI; Miller 2 RBI, Mustoe RBI.