The beauty of postseason baseball in West Virginia is the fact it can stretch out over a four-week period, meaning a team has reached the State Tournament at Appalachian Power Park in Charleston.
There is, though, the dark side in which a team’s season can come to a screeching halt in a matter of days.
Shane Casto’s Ripley Vikings lived through that darkness earlier this week.
The Vikings opened Class AAA Region IV, Section 1 play on Monday against Parkersburg and by lateTuesday evening their season was finished.
At home on Monday the Vikings were beaten by Parkersburg’s Big Reds, 4-2, and then fell to Parkersburg South on the road, 10-7, Tuesday.
Against Parkersburg, Ripley took a 1-0 lead with a run in the bottom of the second. The Big Reds responded with the next four runs – one in the third and fourth with two more crossing the plate in the sixth. Ripley added its only other run in the last of the sixth.
The Big Reds had nine hits to Ripley’s eight.
Josh Carte led Ripley’s hit parade with a 3-3 performance. Broedy Boyce, Dane Peterson, Rocky Ford, Gage Songer and Gavin Blankenship had the other hits.
Peterson pitched five innings, allowing two runs (both earned) on six hits while striking out five and walking two. Ford and Kemp also pitched an inning for the Vikings.
With their backs to the wall, Ripley headed to Parkersburg Tuesday to meet South. Like they did against the Big Reds, Ripley took the first lead by erupting for five runs in the top of the second.
South fought back and had a 10-5 lead going into the seventh. Ripley managed two more runs, thanks to a double by J.T. Kemp but it proved to be too little, too late.
Davis Haynes, who showed plenty of promise as a freshman pitcher, absorbed the loss on the mound.
Ripley’s season ends at 12-14.
“It was a tough loss against Parkersburg,” Casto said. “We couldn’t manage to string anything together with the bats. We left too many guys in scoring position and they made a few more plays than we did.”
Regarding the South game, Casto stated. “It’s definitely not the way we wanted our season to end. We battled and jumped out early to a big lead. They came back and took the lead. We just got behind and didn’t have enough left in the tank. Hats off to them, they put it in play. I hate it for our three seniors Rocky Ford, Nic Craddock and J.T. Kemp. I appreciate everything they did for our program. They are three great young men.”