POCA, W.Va. — The Point Pleasant baseball team moved one step closer to a league championship Wednesday night after claiming a season sweep of host Poca with a 6-4 Cardinal Conference victory in Putnam County.
The Big Blacks (18-6, 9-2 Cardinal) never trailed in the contest, as the guests jumped out to a 2-0 advantage through two innings of play. Both Point and the Dots (18-12, 9-5) simply traded runs the rest of the way — including a pair of three-run outbursts in the seventh — allowing Point Pleasant to move within a game of the Cardinal Conference crown.
PPHS outhit Poca by a 9-5 overall margin and also committed two of the five errors in the contest. Point also posted an 11-1 triumph over PHS back on March 29 in Mason County.
After a scoreless first, the Big Blacks managed first blood in the top of the second after three hits and an error led to a 2-0 advantage. Evan Potter led off the inning with a single, then Alex Potter reached on an error. Jacob Gleason followed with an RBI double for a 1-0 edge, then Steven Porter singled home the other run for a two-run cushion.
The Dots cut the deficit in half in the bottom of the fourth with a run, but the guests answered with a run in the fifth for a 3-1 lead. Brandon Toler singled, stole second and later scored on an RBI single by Jason Stouffer.
PPHS added three insurance runs in the top of the seventh for its biggest lead of the night at 6-1, but the hosts retaliated with three scores in the seventh before ultimately coming up short. Point left eight runners on base, while Poca stranded seven in the setback.
Eric Roberts went the distance for the winning decision, allowing four earned runs, five hits and seven walks over seven innings while striking out nine. Noah Frampton took the loss after surrendering six earned runs, nine hits and four walks over seven frames while fanning four.
Evan Potter led Point Pleasant with two hits, followed by Roberts, Stouffer, Gleason, Porter, Alex Potter, Brandon Toler and Tylun Campbell with one safety apiece. Toler scored twice in the victory, while Stouffer, Campbell, Gleason, Porter and both Potters drove in an RBI each.
Frampton, Clayton Cook, David Taylor, Cam Cottrill and Matt Peck had a hit apiece for the hosts. Frampton drove in an RBI and scored once, while Cottrill, Peack and Travis Covert scored a run each in the loss.
A win either at Wayne Thursday or at Scott Saturday would secure a share of the 2012 Cardinal Conference title for the Big Blacks.