FAIRLEA, WV- The Greenbrier East Spartans had several opportunities to punch their ticket to the state baseball tournament on Tuesday, May 23 when they hosted game two of the regional championship series.
Unfortunately for the Spartans, luck was not on their side, and they fell to the St. Albans Red Dragons 6-2 in nine innings.
The game was basically a pitcher’s duel the whole way through.
East pitcher Gabe Patton retired the Red Dragons in order to open the game and gave his offense a chance to come to the plate and jump out to a quick start.
However, SA pitcher Garrett Comer presented a large challenge to the Spartan bats. The hard throwing right-hander stayed on cruise control until the third inning when he hit Patton with a pitch, and Patton took second shortly thereafter. However, the East hurler was picked off second base after a quick move and throw from Comer. Peyton DeHaven then doubled down the third base line, and he was followed by Ashton Cochran who roped a double to center field and the Spartans took a 1-0 lead. And they didn’t stop there. Darris Boswell ripped a single to left and Cochran scored, and at that point East led 2-0.
St. Albans did not take long to answer, however.
Aidan Youngblood singled to lead off the ensuing inning, then later scored on a passed ball at the plate. Comer followed that with a base hit to left, and in the blink of an eye the score was tied at 2-all after 4.
The Spartans (20-17) survived a 2-out triple from Tristan Harless in the top of the sixth inning when Patton got Comer to pop out to shortstop to end the frame and keep the score knotted at 2-2.
Fast forward to the top of the seventh as the Red Dragons (24-15) had a runner on second with two outs and Patton got Youngblood to strikeout swinging, and the game headed to the potential final at-bat in the bottom of the seventh, but the Spartans were unable to capitalize, and the contest went to extra innings.
With Cline on third base and Boswell on first with one out in the bottom of the eighth, sophomore Zion Detko ripped a line drive up the middle, but Comer somehow caught it in the air, walked over and touched first to get Boswell for a momentum killing double play. The air went out of the crowd.
That momentum swing continued to haunt the Spartans too. In the top of the ninth inning, the Red Dragons put up four runs to steal the game that was so close for the Spartans it would have been at their literal fingertips.
Cochran led the Spartans at the plate and went 2-4 with a run and an RBI. Patton was good on the mound and lasted eight innings, allowed just six hits and two runs, and struck out six. Boswell took the loss in relief.
Comer almost matched Patton’s stat line, but he had eight strikeouts on the night.
Ryker Parker and Bryce Eggleton led the Red Dragons with two hits each.
East will head back to St. Albans on Wednesday, May 24 for the final game of the series. The inner will head to the state tourney and the loser will be finished until next season.