Late rally lifts Indians to Regional Final
Trailing 7-3 heading into the bottom half ot the sixth inning, Berkeley Springs scored three times and then added, two more runs in the seventh, to rally for an 8-7 victory over Petersburg in a Class AA, Region II semifinal held in Berkeley Springs on Monday, May 21.
"Our kids showed a lot heart, battling back the way they did," said Berkeley Springs Coach Ron Bittinger.
The Indians drew first blood with a run in the bottom of the first.
Zach Wise led off with a single to right centerfield, moved to second base on a sacrifice bunt by Tyler Holt and scored on a double to left by Jared Spielman.
Berkeley made it 2-0 with an unearned run in the second and then increased the lead to 3-0 when Scott Hessler drew a bases loaded walk in the third.
Down 3-0, Petersburg roughed up Berkeley Springs "Ace," Tyler Holt, for seven runs on six hits in the fourth, before Brady Spielman came in to put out the fire. Not only did Spielman distinguish the flames, he kept Berkeley Springs in the game with 3.1 innings of scoreless relief to get the win.
"We felt pretty comfortable with a three-run lead and Tyler on the mound," Bittinger said. “Normally you can take that to the bank, but he just didn't have his best stuff tonight. We handed the ball to Brady and he did a tremendous job. He didn't allow a run in the the three plus innings of relief and gave us a chance for the comeback."
Spielman was sharp, allowing no runs on no hits in 3.1 innings of relief. He struck out seven and walked two batters. Holt, who went the first 3.2 innings, allowed seven runs on seven hits, striking out four, walking three and hitting two batters.
Down four runs, Kyle Appel and Kaleb Athey led off the sixth with back-to-back singles and advanced a base on an error by the left fielder. Wise followed with a grounder to second that was mishandled, allowing both Appel and Athey to cross the plate. Wise then stole second and moved over to third on a wild pitch. After Holt went down swinging, Jared Spielman drew a walk and then stole second, to put runners on second and third with one out. Wise then scored on a wild pitch to close the gap to one run, 7-6.
Brady Spielman then struck out the side in the top of the seventh, setting up the dramatic come-from-behind win.
With one out, Athey drew a base on balls. Wise followed with a grounder to the mound. Petersburg's pitcher turned and had an easy force at second, but the shortstop dropped the ball, putting runners on first and second with one out. Holt then delivered a run-scoring single to tie the game, and both he and Wise moved up a base, on yet another Viking miscue. Jared Spielman was intentionally walked to load the bases. With Brady Spielman at the plate Petersburg's pitcher, Brandon George, uncorked a wild pitch and Wise sprinted home with the winning run.
"This was a total team effort," said a happy Bittinger. “We had a lot of different guys come through. We are only one step away from reaching one of our main goals. I couldn't be prouder."
Berkeley Springs is playing in the regional final today in Clarksburg, against Liberty Harrison, at 5:30 p.m. The winner will advance to the state tournament in Charleston, which gets underway on May 31.