CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Last year, George Washington constructed a high left field wall, making it harder for players to hit home runs. Not even the ballpark’s Robert Wong Wall, however, could keep Patriot senior Austin Griffith in the park on Wednesday evening.
Griffith blasted two 2-run home runs over the left field structure to help GW earn a 9-4 victory over Charleston Catholic at Floyd B. Wilcox Field.
With the win, GW, tied for third in the Charleston Daily Mail sportswriters baseball poll in Class AAA, improves to 5-2. Class A No. 4 Catholic falls to 3-2.
“Austin is the epitome of a baseball player,” GW coach Chad Campbell said. “I couldn’t be more proud of him of what he is doing now. He just needs to keep it going for us. He is a leader, is quiet, and will do anything you ask. I love him. He’s a great kid. He has really come on from the time he was a freshman to a senior.”
Griffith wasn’t looking to hit any of his homers, but was certainly glad he did.
“I am just trying to hit line drives, I’m not trying to hit home runs,” Griffith said. “It felt good, I can say that, but I don’t want to get a head of myself. I am seeing the ball good.”
Griffith got his game going early. After a walk to GW leadoff hitter John Thomas, the Patriot center fielder drilled a Dominic Marsico offering over the wall to tie the game at two.
Then in the fourth inning, Griffith connected off Marsico again for his second homer, giving the Patriots some breathing room at 7-3.
Griffith almost hit his third home run of the game in the sixth inning, once again reaching the 24-foot high, 200-foot long structure, but this time it hit off the lower part closer to right center, and he settled for a double.
On the night, Griffith collected three hits, including two homers and a double, and drove in five runs. He doubled his home run total after coming into the game with two.
“They were in there telling him to hit three,” Campbell said. “He doesn’t think about those kinds of things. He just wants to hit the ball hard, and when you do that, the home runs will come.”
Catholic coach Bill Mehle was very impressed with what he saw out of Griffith.
“He hit two off the school and one off the wall, you have to hand it to him,” Mehle said. “He put great swings off good, hitter pitches. Good hitters are going to sit dead red, and he did.”
The Irish are coming off a state title in Class A, and a good reason for their success, according to Mehle, is playing a difficult schedule against the likes of GW.
“That is why we play an up schedule,” Mehle said. “That is what helps us compete at higher levels.
“That is the only way you are going to be competitive against the best single A teams in the postseason. I appreciate Coach Campbell and the other area coaches that are willing to play us.”
Campbell also enjoys the match-up with the Irish.
“We play them every year, and it’s a good, little rivalry,” Campbell said. “Both have had some really good teams over the past few years. It’s a fun game to play in. It’s a good win.”
Griffith had three of GW’s eight hits with Thomas the other multiple-hit player with two hits. Grant Wooten drove in two runs with a single in a four run first inning.
The Irish scored four runs off just four hits, one each by Jordan Covelli, Connor Golden, Thad Jameson and Sam McKown, who also had two RBI.