Capital was on the wrong end of more than its share of one-run games in 2013. On Thursday, however, the Cougars got to see how the other half lives with a 6-5 win in eight innings against visiting South Charleston.
The game did not start well for Capital. South Charleston got on the scoreboard early when leadoff hitter Brandon Knapper reached base on an error and scored two batters later on first baseman Antonio Brown’s sacrifice fly to right field.
The Black Eagles were at it again in the third, extending the lead to 3-0 with runs from Brown and left fielder Isaiah Moss.
“We came out flat,” Capital coach Robert Massey said. “We were flat as a flitter and we didn’t act like we wanted to be here. Just a good old country butt-chewin’ is what it took.”
That act of verbal mastication came before the fourth inning and appeared to work as the Cougars found life.
Capital took what South Charleston pitcher Jonathan Pauley was offering with the first three Cougars all reaching base on walks. Senior Trenton Campbell smacked a sacrifice fly to score Anthony Gavin, and a throw to third base to try and catch Kaleb Kinder skipped past SC third baseman Trevor Sampson, allowing Kinder to score.
“Those errors cost you,” South Charleston coach Ken Samms said. “Those routine plays, if you don’t make them, they cost you.”
Pauley was pulled after four innings in favor of left-handed reliever Tyler Abbott, who had to work out of a hole after a Tyler Harper single in the scored Capital catcher Seth Roadcap to even the score at 3-3 before Austin Hupp scored to give the Cougars a 4-3 advantage.
Kinder, Capital’s starting pitcher, also went four innings and allowed three Black Eagles’ runs on four hits with two strikeouts. Massey went deep into his bullpen, throwing Gavin and Justin Palmer an inning each before Jordan Bray took the ball for the seventh.
Bray appeared close to closing the game several times with two strikes on SC batters but could not get the calls he needed. That came back to bite the Cougars as Moss smacked his second double of the game to bring Brown around and tie the score at 4-4.
South Charleston added a run in the eighth but left the door open for Capital.
Kinder opened the bottom half of the inning with a single and scored on a Campbell RBI single two batters later. With Campbell standing on third Abbott threw what appeared to be a wild pitch, allowing the baserunner to come to the plate. The pitch was ruled a foul, but the scenario repeated itself two pitches later (only this time with no foul call) to allow Campbell to score the game-winning run on a walk-off wild pitch.
“Winning and hitting is contagious,” Massey said. “All it takes is a spark. Here and there we get a little spark but we finally got a good one. Trenton is a four-year guy. He’s a three-year starter for me. That meant a lot to him to tie the game with that hit and score the winning run.”
Contact sportswriter Tom Bragg at email@example.com or 304-348-4871. Follow him on Twitter @TomBraggSports.