ONA — On Monday night, Cabell Midland coach Tracy Brumfield knew that winning a sectional title over rival Huntington High would take a little extra effort.
That’s exactly what Brumfield got from left-fielder Ryan Fulks in the Knights’ 5-4 extra-inning win over the Highlanders.
Fulks came up with not one, but two highlight-reel catches while coming up big at the plate out of the No. 9 hole to lead the team.
“He had one heck of a game,” Brumfield said of Fulks. “We needed it, too.”
Perhaps Fulks biggest play of the night came in the top of the seventh inning.
With the game tied at 4 and the bases loaded, a swing off the bat of Trent Dearth sent a shot down the left-field line, which seemed to go away from Fulks.
Undaunted, he continued his sprint and fully extended while snagging the ball before it hit in foul territory to retire the side.
Many will think it wasn’t important because it was in foul territory, but Knights’ pitchers had struggled with control throughout the game, so any play made with the ball in play was critical — especially in a bases-loaded situation.
“That’s a huge catch there to get us out of that jam,” Brumfield said. “We needed to get back in the dugout.”
It was the second big catch of the game for Fulks, who had one that was just as impressive one inning prior.
With Cabell Midland leading 4-2, Huntington’s Braeden Gaul sent a shot to deep left field, but Fulks got a good read on it and caught it at his highest point up against the fence to keep the lead where it was at the time.
The catch brought a hat tip from several Cabell Midland coaches, who yelled out to him to get his attention for the acknowledgement.
Prior to the catch, Fulks delivered an RBI single with two outs in the bottom of the fifth that gave the Knights a 3-2 lead. It was part of a three-run frame in which Cabell Midland got its bats going.
His biggest at-bat of the night, though, came in the ninth two batters before the game-winning hit by Clay Holmes.
Fulks, not known for his bunting ability, dropped down a perfect bunt into no-man’s land on the left side of the infield to load the bases with no outs and set up Holmes’ heroics.
“You’ve got to have those type of efforts in big games,” Brumfield said. “Hopefully, we can keep it going.”