Hedgesville stumps Cougars, 7-1, to advance
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SHENANDOAH JUNCTION — Cody Butts was the perfect West Virginia high school pitcher. He did not allow a walk to Jefferson’s lineup when Hedgesville stumped the Cougars, 7-1, in the semifinal round of the Region II tournament.
Not only did Butts not allow any free passes to the Jefferson offense, his strikes were nearly always below the waist and the large number of ground balls they produced were nearly always harmless.
In his complete game two-hitter, Butts saw only three of the 21 outs he recorded come on flyballs or line drives. Fully 18 of the outs came on ground balls or from the three strikeouts Butts had.
Having just played on Saturday, Jefferson wasn’t free to use just any pitcher it wanted because of national rules limiting the number of innings allowed in a certain time frame.
The Eagles scored early to push the Cougars deeper into a corner. Steve Hite and James Wright looped hits to each foul line and then a balk called on freshman left-hander Bradley Davis helped both runners score on a groundout and Troy Markley’s RBI single.
Jefferson’s only run came in the first when Anthony DiAmario bunted a one-hopper to third baseman Hite. Hite threw high to first for one of the Eagles’ two errors. DiAmario scored on Sean Spotts’ RBI single.
But in the next six innings, Jefferson had only two more baserunners. Butts refused to walk batters. Without the benefit of walks, Jefferson was powerless to score again.
Davis was lifted in the third, replaced by Andrew King. Davis had yielded six hits and a walk in 2.1 innings. King would keep the game close until the seventh when Daniel Heleine had a solo homer and pinch-hitter Josh Kocher doubled in two additional runs.
Jefferson’s season ended with a 22-13 overall record. The Eagles won for the ninth straight time and moved to the Regional finals on their home field against Hampshire. It was the most advancement down the tournament trail the Eagles had made in 33 years. Neither Hampshire nor Hedgesville has ever done enough winning to reach the state tournament, so history will be made.
Jefferson has 10 state championships and 22 Regional titles.