CHARLESTON — The University High School baseball team entered Friday’s state semifinal hoping to continue the production at the plate that produced 30 runs in three games against Morgantown in Regionals and 319 runs throughout the season.
Hedgesville starting pitcher Lane Delauter had other ideas, allowing only three hits by UHS in six and two-thirds innings and a single run that came in the opening frame.
The Hawks (24-12) collected only three bases in the game and struck out eight times as a team.
“You have to tip your cap to their pitcher (Delauter), he threw well and pounded the strike zone,” UHS coach Brad Comport said after the game. “He didn’t really allow us to gain any momentum and kept us at bay. Hats off to them.”
The only inning to see scoring in the entire game was the first, as both teams posted runs to open the game offensively.
The Eagles got started on the very first pitch of the game as senior shortstop Braylon Conner hit a lead-off single. Noah Brown doubled in the next at-bat but Conner tripped rounding third and was unable to score the opening run.
Eventually, he scored on a wild pitch to give his team a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning.
Two more singles yielded two more runs in the top of the first and swung momentum in favor of the Eagles, as the Hawks found themselves trailing by three before coming to the plate.
“They just hit the ball,” Comport said of Hedgesville’s offense in the first inning. “Zach (Harman) was throwing strikes but they were putting good swings on the ball and got those three runs early and we had trouble digging our way out of it.”
It seemed that UHS had the fight in them after getting one run back with two outs in the bottom of the first. Senior Noah Braham scored from second on a single by junior Wenkai Campbell, but Delauter earned his third strikeout of the inning on the next batter.
Harman did well to calm himself down after giving up three runs in the first inning and didn’t allow another to cross the plate for the final five innings of his start.
But the momentum never got going the way UHS needed it to on offense and no runs were produced for the remainder of the game.
“That’s just who Zach has been all year,” Comport said. “He’s been consistent and he found his groove after the first. Really proud of the effort and we couldn’t ask for a better start from him.”
The Hawks finish the season with a record of 24-12 and reached the state tournament for the second time since 2004 in just Comport’s second season at the helm.
“This year has meant a lot to our staff,” he said. “We’ve worked hard to build a positive culture and be a program that guys want to play for. We are all still learning as a young staff, I’ve certainly learned a lot. This team has set a strong foundation for the future and that’s great to have. The seniors on this team have set an example for the young guys and we are hopeful for the future.”
Hedgesville 3, University 1
HHS 300 000 0 – 3 8 0
UHS 100 000 0 – 1 3 0
Hedgesville – Conner 4110, Brown 1110, Ruest 2100, Pedersen 4000, Pence 4021, Quinn 3031, French 3000, Knieriem 3000, Ganoe 3010
University – Latocha 2000, Croyle 1000, Thomas 4010, Braham 2100, Campbell 2011, Croston 2000, Templeton 3000, Jansen 1000, Walters 3010, Smolkin 3000
WP: Delauter 6.2ip 3h 1r 3bb 8K
LP: Harman 6.0ip 8h 3r 4bb 6K