Nitro loaded the bases three straight innings against Sissonville Wednesday night. The first time, the Indians were able to wriggle out of the jam. The next two times, not so much.
Matt Hill laced a three-run double in the fourth to give the Wildcats the lead for good, then closed out the game with three strikeouts in the seventh as visiting Nitro erupted for a 12-4 victory.
Jacob Ilar worked six strong innings to get the win for the Wildcats (12-6), and the hitting attack was led by Hill (3 for 5, two doubles, four RBIs) and Josh Adkins (3 for 4, double, homer, four RBIs).
In winning for the eighth time over its last nine games, Nitro rallied from an early deficit as the Indians led 3-0 after two innings.
“Our guys are getting mentally tough,’’ said Nitro coach Brian Withrow. “I think we’ve got the physical part down to where we’re getting in good shape. Mentally, we’ve got to overcome errors and things like that.
“When you get the bases loaded, you’ve got to be mentally tough and put the ball in play and see what happens — and we’re starting to get there and do that. It paid off tonight.’’
Down 3-1 in the third, Nitro had the bases loaded and two out and Ilar smoked a shot down the third-base line. Sissonville’s Zac Boggess leaped and grabbed a ball that looked destined for extra bases, keeping the Indians in front.
However, the lead only lasted a few more minutes.
The next time Nitro came to bat, it bunched five runs into the top of the fourth on one hit — Hill’s bases-clearing double — along with two walks, two Sissonville errors and a hit batter. All five runs were unearned, but the Wildcats had forged a 6-3 lead.
“They capitalized on every one of our mistakes,’’ said Sissonville coach Chad Carpenter. “Whether it was not pitching ahead, whether it was not fielding the routine plays, whether it was not getting runners over when we were attempting to get runners over, they capitalized on every mistake that we made.’’
The next inning was more of the same for Nitro, which saw its first five batters reach base in the fifth.
Adam Cavendish was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, Adkins singled in a run and Mike Stone lofted a sacrifice fly, bumping the lead to 9-3.
Withrow liked how the Wildcats responded to some early adversity.
“We had an emotional game against Chapmanville [Monday],’’ he said. “We had a walk-off win there, and then we went down to Wayne [Tuesday] and got down early and folded the tents up and let them take the game over from us.
“We talked to our guys tonight and told them we cannot let this happen. We play seven innings. We’ve been down before, backs up against the wall. Just keep chipping away and chipping away, and we did. Really proud of the guys tonight. We answered the bell against a really good Sissonville team.’’
Nitro got a couple parting shots in the top of the seventh, as Adkins launched a two-run homer and Hill added an RBI double. Ilar went six innings, allowing two earned runs and struck out six. The run Hill gave up in the bottom of the seventh was unearned.
Sissonville (9-7) lost for the sixth time in nine games, though three of those came against solid competition during last week’s spring-break trip to Knoxville, Tennessee.
The Indians grabbed their quick 3-0 lead in the second Wednesday on an RBI double by Scott Soblit, a run-scoring single from Blake Newhouse and a throwing error. But they didn’t score again until the seventh, pinning the loss on left-handed starter Corey Harrison.
“We just talked about complacency,’’ Carpenter said. “We were complacent. We got up 3-0 and didn’t take the next step we needed. And in turn, we started playing defensively and making mistakes and that cost us. Hopefully, it’s a good learning tool.’’
Harrison and Chance Jones each donated a pair of hits for the Indians.