RIPLEY - It was an Exciting day at the ballpark. There was a warm breeze blowing and the distinct sound of bat meeting ball was in the air as Ripley warmed up for a fun day of baseball for a healthy collection of true blue fans in attendance.
The smell of freshly cut grass and the warm tones of Mike Ruben's voice introducing the starting lineups was enough to give a baseball fan an absolute overload of the senses. The seats in Vikings Park that used to call Watt Powell Park in Charleston home seem to fit the body like your favorite recliner on this day.
It was a great day to be a baseball fan.
Ripley (4-5) was coming off of a tough loss at Logan on Friday night where Easton Berry got his first start and pitched well but the Viking bats were sleeping.
Ravenswood (3-5) were coming of a disappointing loss to Sissonville on Friday evening.
It was Military Appreciation day at Ray Swisher Field at Viking Park. After a Color Guard ceremonial tribute to the United States Military, Ripley took on cross county rival Ravenswood High.
Before the teams could meet on the diamond in game three on Saturday, they each had to face the Chapmanville Tigers.
Ripley dismantled the Tigers like a child breaking a toy. After Ripley opened up a 4-0 lead in the first inning, it was never in question. The Vikings took the "Mercy Rule" shortened contest in five innings. Jared Bumpus pitched all of those innings for Ripley and the freshman lefty continues to impress with his ability to change speeds and throw his curve ball for strikes in virtually any count.
Bumpus allowed just one earned run on three hits with four strikeouts. Standout frosh Cody Pittenger doubled twice and fellow freshman Christopher Jordan had an RBI single. Scott Thompson led the Tigers with a pair of hits.
After an intermission, The Red Devils of Ravenswood faced the Tigers in a game that ended tighter than it appeared in the early innings. Ravenswood prevailed, 10-7.
Ravenswood jumped on the orange early, riding a 6-0 lead into the fifth. Isaac Crow was on the mound for the Red Devils and did not disappoint. The athletic looking hurler is intimidating on the mound with his 6-4 frame and wide wing span. He held Chapmanville at bay going five innings and notching nine strikeouts. Crow scattered four hits over those innings and got the win for Ravenswood.
Heath Burgess slammed the door shut on the Tigers as he gave up no hits over two innings.
Shortstop Devon Crews and Ben Johnson led the way for the Red Devils with the bat. Crews went 2-for-5 with two RBI and Johnson went 2-for-4 with two RBI. Burgess was 1-for-3 with two RBI.
Page 2 of 2 - Ripley and Ravenswood took the field around 5:30 p.m. for what turned out to be the best game of the day. There was definitely more "chatter" on the infield than normal. This is just a byproduct of any game between these rivals.
Ripley jumped out to a 2-1 lead early on a RBI sacrifice from Isaac Koontz, who was also on the mound for Ripley.
Koontz was successful in keeping his pitches down and attacking the strike zone. He was able to entice Ravenswood hitters to swing and miss or foul off low pitches, sometimes out of the zone, which helped the sophomore stay ahead in the count throughout the game.
Jesse Brown took the ball for the Red Devils and showed good "stuff" while striking out eight Vikings. He threw six innings of solid baseball. He definitely gave his team a chance to win with his performance.
Freshman Zach Miller pitched an inning in relief for Ravenswood. He struck out two Vikings in the inning showing promise in the future of Red Devil hurlers.
"I am excited for the freshman that have came in eager to learn and be a part of our program and I am pleased with the four first year seniors and the hard work they have put in. It means a lot to our program having them on board and being a part of the rebuilding process," said coach Swain.
Coach Casto was happy for his team after a great day on the diamond.
"It is great to get these wins today for our program. It is exciting to see our guys progress and get better as the season goes along. I am proud of our team for taking care of business today in our park," said coach Casto.
Jonny Stepp was 2-for-4 with two RBI to pace the host Vikings. Isaac Koontz blasted three hits and knocked in a run for Ripley. Will Schindler and Issac Crow had two hits each for the Red Devils.
Ripley travels to Meigs County Ohio tomorrow and the Red Devils travel to Williamstown tonight.