WILLIAMSTOWN - It's all come down to one day, one game for Williamstown and Parkersburg Catholic to decide the Class A Region IV, Section 1 baseball tournament, with today's 11 a.m. winner here moving on to regional play,
That scenario unfolded Friday after the Yellowjackets and Crusaders split a doubleheader to force a winner-take-all game today for the sectional championship with each team now having a loss in the double-elimination tourney.
In the opener, Williamstown claimed a 6-1 win behind the arm of Eli Gray, who struck out 11 and walked only two in besting mound foe Mitch Davis, as both hurlers went the distance in tossing a five-hitter and a six-hitter respectively.
The 'Jackets got the jump on Davis with a run in the first inning on Gray's sacrifice fly and two more in the third on Joel Swisher's RBI infield single and Brye Mullenix's bases-loaded walk for a 3-0 lead.
Williamstown added a run in the fifth frame on a balk before Catholic finally scored in the sixth as Cary Casto singled in a tally.
The Yellowjackets, however, notched a two-spot in the bottom of the sixth on a wild pitch and Jake Tracewell's run-scoring single for the final five-run margin of victory.
In Game 2, the Crusaders (18-12), the defending sectional champions, turned the tables on Williamstown, getting the early drop on the 'Jackets (22-11) with three runs in the first and another four in the third to go up 7-0, only to see their county Class A rivals rally to come within two before falling 9-7.
PC's Jake Boice tripled in two runs in the first, then scored on a wild pitch, and in the second, Casto singled in a run, another came home on an error and Davis capped the inning with a two-run double.
But Williamstown started its comeback with a two-run fourth on back-to-back RBI hits, a single by Landon Travis followed by a Swisher double,
Catholic, though, got those two back in the last of the fourth for a 9-2 advantage on a Boice RBI single and Nick Roedersheimer's fielder's choice grounder that resulted in an unsuccessful out play at the plate to enable a run to cross home.
The 'Jackets got four in the fifth on an Avery Goff two-run homer and three doubles in a row by Tracewell, Dakota Watson and Travis to produce another two tallies to pull within 9-6, and Goff slugged a solo shot off the scoreboard behind the left-field fence for his second homer of the game in the top of the seventh for the final scoring in the game,
Andrew Cinalli was the winning pitcher, going all the way for the Crusaders, while Williamstown starter Watson took the loss.
Both head coaches were coy about their pitching plans today, saying they would be looking at and weighing all their options before making any decisions on who they would use on the mound today in such a key game with the season resting on the outcome.