By NICK BROCKMAN
FOR THE DAILY MAIL
WINFIELD – On the heels of a rather quiet beginning, the Ripley and Winfield baseball teams combined for an extended wild finish before the Vikings prevailed 8-6 in 12 innings.
Twice, Ripley pushed ahead to a lead forcing Winfield to score, but the Generals responded each time until finally the Vikings forged ahead for good in the 12th inning for the win.
“We won it a couple times,” Ripley coach Mike Lawrence said. “We won it in the seventh, but errors killed us in the seventh. It feels good. These kids deserve it. They work hard. They put a lot of time in. I’m proud of them.”
Ripley (9-7) entered the top of the seventh inning tied 2-2 with Winfield (5-9), but scored three runs in the inning to seemingly secure victory. The Generals, however, matched the Vikings with three runs to force extra innings.
In the eighth inning, Ripley followed with another run, but once again Winfield scored to extend the contest.
The game remained tied at 6-6 until the 12th inning when the Vikings plated two runs. Winfield advanced runners to second and third with two outs in the bottom of the 12th, but left them stranded to end the game.
“It’s very rewarding,” Lawrence said of the victory. “They deserve every bit of it. I’m proud of them.”
Sophomore Jared Bumpus provided the game’s winning hit with a one-out RBI single to right field in the 12th. The base hit plated Luke Layhew, who reached via error to start the inning before advancing to second on a wild pitch.
“I knew I had to hit it on the right side, on the ground or a fly ball to right field,” Bumpus said, “so I just tried to do that.”
After a sacrifice bunt by Lane Casto, freshman Remington Boyce hit an RBI single to right field to give Ripley an 8-6 advantage.
Winfield threatened with runners in scoring position in the bottom of the 12th inning, but Ripley closed the door on the win.
“We worked hard in the offseason, so we were ready for this,” Bumpus said of the extra inning contest. “We felt pretty confident we were going to win this game.”
Ripley took a 2-0 lead after two innings before Winfield cut its deficit in half with a run in the third inning. The Generals later tied the contest in the fifth inning when Brandon Wright scored on a wild pitch after beginning the inning with a double.
As well as Winfield played to tie the contest in both the seventh and eighth innings, the Generals left many opportunities on the bases. Winfield stranded at least one runner in 11 of its 12 innings at bat.
“We had 16 fly ball outs, which is not good obviously, and we struck out too many times,” Winfield coach Will Isaacs said.
Still, Isaacs said he felt proud of the Generals’ play.
“It was very difficult to have to come back twice and we were able to come back twice and tie it, so there’s lots of positives and our kids don’t quit,” he said. “They’ll keep playing hard. Baseball’s a marathon and not a sprint. We try to get better today than we were yesterday.”
Isaacs noted he was particularly pleased with the performance of reliever Jordan Clark, who impressed, allowing just four hits and no earned runs, despite taking the loss.
“We’re trying to groom him as a closer and we’ve only prepared him to throw one inning, so the effort that he gave throwing six innings was a great effort,” Isaacs said. “It was much more than we would have expected him to do, but he did a heckuva job keeping us in the game that long.”
Beyond Clark, Wright, John Bellomy and Derek Whiteside each contributed solid performances. Each of the three hitters finished with three hits.
For Ripley, eight different batters finished with a hit.
“It was a team effort, a team win,” Lawrence said. “It’s great to see.”
Chris Jordan, who earned the save with one shutout inning, paced the Vikings with three hits. Isaac Koontz, who earned the pitching win, also posted a multi-hit performance, finishing 2-for-6.
Winfield next plays Monday at Capital, while Ripley plays at Sissonville on Saturday.
Ripley 8, Winfield 6 (12 innings)
Ripley 110 000 310 002 – 8 12 3
Winfield 001 010 310 000 – 6 12 3
Easton Berry, Luke Layhew (5), Isaac Koontz (8), Chris Jordan (12) and Anthony Jarvis; Casey Frye, Jordan Clark (8) and Jordan Clark, C.T. Douglas (8).
WP – Isaac Koontz (4 IP, 1 ER, 2 H, 4 K, 2 BB); LP – Jordan Clark (5 IP, 0 ER, 4 H, 3 K, 2 BB); S – Chris Jordan (1 IP, 0 ER, 2 H, 2 K, 0 BB).
Hitting: Ripley – Chris Jordan 3-4; Isaac Koontz 2-3; Luke Layhew 2 RBI; Winfield – Brandon Wright 3-6, 2 2B; Bear Bellomy 3-7; Derek Whiteside 3-5; Bryan Bosley 3B; Jordan Clark 2B.
Records: Ripley (9-7), Winfield (5-9).