Senior Nathan Curtis answered the bell in dominating fashion twice during the recently completed Class A Region 4 playoff series and his second bravura performance on the mound Saturday rang his Red Devil team into their first state baseball tournament since 1999.

Senior Nathan Curtis answered the bell in dominating fashion twice during the recently completed Class A Region 4 playoff series and his second bravura performance on the mound Saturday rang his Red Devil team into their first state baseball tournament since 1999. 

Curtis fanned 16 Buffalo Bison batters in a two-hit, seven-inning gem with a pair of walks to help propel the Reed Devils to a 5-1 win in the do-or-die Game 3 of the regional championship series. But even more, he pulled off a huge defensive play by picking off a Bison base runner at second in the sixth inning with team leading 3-1 to snuff a Buffalo threat and end the half-inning. Curtis also delivered a double in the bottom of the sixth that turned into one of Ravenswood’s two insurance runs to close out the game. 

“Nathan pitched a whale of game for us today,” said Coach Wes Swain. “I’m really proud of him and everyone for stepping up. These kids have worked hard to get here and they’ve been resilient all season.”

“That was probably the best game of my career,” Curtis said. “I pitched a no-hitter against Wahama earlier, but in this situation with so much on the line, this has to be the best. I’m glad I was able to help us get to states my senior year. It feels great to be going.”

Curtis opened the decisive game at Wright Field by striking out the side around a base on balls, and fanned the side in the second inning with no hiccups.

In the bottom of the second, Lakin Tucker (who was scorching with the bat in the regional series) led off with an infield single. Andrew Anglin reached on a n error and Ciah Kennedy singled to load the bases. Stephen Dawson and Nic Taylor added RBI singles to give the Red Devils a 2-0 lead.

In the third, a fielder’s choice put Tucker aboard again with two outs. Anglin walked and Brennen Barr reached in an infield single to loaded the bases. Ciah Kennedy’s RBI single plated Tucker for a 3-0 Red Devil lead.

Brandon Dillman got Buffalo on the board in the fourth with a one-out blast to left field onto the FFA building roof for a solo home run to make it 3-1.

In the top of the fifth, Ravenswood turned a slick 6-4-3 (Chase Swain to Blake Bennet to Ciah Kenendy) double play to snuff a Buffalo threat with one out and a runner on via Timothy Eads’s single.

In the sixth, Ian O’Donnell struck out but reached base on a third strike passed ball, he advanced to second on a two-out walk, but was picked off on a whirling strike from Curtis to Chase Swain to end the threat and the inning.

In the bottom of the sixth, Swain launched a towering two-out, two-strike solo homer over the Black Monster in right field, after foul a ball off his shin. Curtis followed with a gap double and Tucker delivered an RBI single to make it 5-1 in favor of the Red Devils.

Curtis fanned the side in the top of the seventh to set off a Red Devil celebration of the Region 4 championship and a state tournament berth. 

For Buffalo, Michael Haber took the pitching loss, going six innings with  five strikeouts, one walk and 11 hits allowed.

At the plate for the Red Devils, Lakin Tucker was 3-for-4 with an RBI. Chase Swain added a solo homer, double and RBI; Ciah Kennedy, two singles and an RBI; Nathan Curtis, a double; Stephen Dawson and Nic Taylor, a RBI single each; and Brennan Barr, a single.

Brandon Dillman had a solo homer; and Timothy Eads, a single, for Buffalo. 

Seeded No.1 for the Class A West Virginia State Baseball Tournament, Ravenswood (22-9) will play No. 4 seed Tygarts Valley (19-8) on Thursday at Appalachian Power Park in Charleston. No. 2 seed Wheeling Central (27-6) will take on No. 3 seed Charleston Catholic (26-7) in the second Class A state semifinal Thursday evening.