Sun. Jul 14th, 2024

George Washington beat Martinsburg 17-0 for a spot in the Class AAA finals

By Vaseline May31,2024

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — When Bryson Hoff is on the mound, George Washington head coach Mike Davis doesn’t believe the Patriots need a consistently strong offense to get the result they want.

“For my money,” Davis said, “he’s the best in the state.”

With Hoff on the mound Thursday at GoMart Ballpark in a Class AAA semifinal against top seed Martinsburg, George Washington picked the perfect time for his highest-scoring game this season.

The Patriots had twenty hits, fourteen of which came from four players in a 17-0 victory in five innings over the Bulldogs.

“Our guys were locked in and went out to prove it,” Davis said.

Martinsburg (33-4) entered with two losses in the national league, falling behind 1-0 in the first inning when Abe Fenwick hit a ground-rule double to right-center field, allowing Chuck Kelley to score.

Fenwick was caught stealing from third base and GW (23-13) left the bases loaded and settled for the one run, although that hardly turned out to matter.

Hoff, a West Virginia University signee, retired the side in the first, and when he came back to pitch in the bottom of the second, the Patriots led 3-0 thanks to Kelley’s run-scoring triple to center. and Fenwick’s runscoring single to right.

“It’s really just about my pregame process, being confident in all my pitches and knowing I can throw them all for strikes,” Hoff said. “This way you really roll over the hill.”

Hoff worked around a two-out walk and GW got a leadoff double from Corbin Dixon to start what amounted to a three-run frame. Alex Wilson singled in the first run of the inning, and after Kelley followed with a single for his third single and the third of the inning, it marked the end of the game for MHS starting pitcher Carson Boomer.

Reliever Owen Ruppenthal was greeted by a two-run double to left by Hoff that made it 6-0.

Hoff hit a perfect third and each of the first four Patriots to bat in the fourth inning reached base, including a two-run double to left by Dixon, which was followed by Jon Fala’s single to center that accounted for the ninth run.

Later in the fourth, Kelley sent a ground ball to second base, which was enough to drive in Fala for a 10-0 lead.

“I can’t say enough about our offense,” Hoff said. “They recognize big plays and put up big runs, and we play great defense every day.”

The Patriots increased the lead significantly with a seven-run fifth, scoring once on a single by Eli Smith and another run on a single by Dixon.

Two runs came in later in the inning on an error by the Bulldogs, while Smith tallied a second-run scoring single for what turned out to be the final run.

“It’s a bit of an anomaly, but this is a confident group,” Davis said. “As we saw two years ago, you get into these state tournaments and you get behind the 8-ball a little bit, and things can get to you a little bit. Luckily we were on the right side there today.”

Martinsburg produced the game’s only two consecutive hits during the fifth when Jackson Steen and Brayden Edwards both singled, but Hoff induced a flyout and recorded his seventh strikeout to end it.

“He probably didn’t need 17 runs to put us in position to play on Saturday, but I’m sure he’s happy with the offensive performance that gives him that kind of cushion,” Davis said. “He was great and has been all year, two years actually. The child is very strong.”

Hoff threw 77 pitches over the five dominant frames. When Hoff faced a batter after his 50th pitch, he was no longer eligible to pitch in Saturday’s title game.

“We’ve met there several times to talk about what we’re going to do, but the fact is it’s going to take more than Bryson Hoff to win a state title,” Davis said. “We have to get there first and we had to go with him.”

Kelley went 4-for-5 and Dixon went 4-for-4 while driving in three runs. Fenwick doubled twice of his three hits and Smith added three hits.

Boober, the first of four Bulldog pitchers, allowed six runs on 10 hits in 2 2/3 innings.

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