The Bottom Line
By Bill Nestor
Last year the Bridgeport baseball team earned a State Championship. It was their first since claiming the gold in 2000. How long would they have to wait for the next one? The Tribe answered with a second consecutive Class AA title with a 5-0 shutout of Chapmanville this past Saturday afternoon at Appalachian Power Park in Charleston.
Bridgeport pitcher, Jared Cleghorn threw a complete game two-hitter that included five strikeouts and just two walks. Cleghorn also exhibited his dominance by not allowing a base runner past first base in the outing.
The Tribe provided Cleghorn with support early by plating a pair of runs in the first inning. A little two out lightning was had when Houston Morris singled in Dante Bonamico. Morris then scored on Hunter Fain’s single to make it 2-0.
Bridgeport would double their lead with the first of two doubles from Joe LaRocca. Ironically the damage was again done with two outs in the inning. Bonamico drew a walk and was brought home by LaRocca’s blast. Morris singled in LaRocca for the 4-0 lead.
The last run of the afternoon came in the sixth inning. Zach Hineman singled and was lifted for pinch runner Jacob DeFalco. DeFalco stole second base and was brought in by Elijah Drummond’s double.
The semifinal win over Pike View looked easier than what it actually was. The 17-7 (shortened to six innings) outcome was the end result however, the Tribe had to come form behind on two different occasions with the last one as deep as the fourth inning.
Bridgeport broke a 7-7 tie in the fifth inning by scoring four runs. They would add six runs in the bottom of the sixth to put the game away.
Hunter Fain was the offensive catalyst for Bridgeport. Fain, lost last season due to injury roared back and was a major contributor the entire season. On Friday evening he was 4 for 4 with three doubles and five runs batted in. Joe Dodrill was 3 of 5 with four RBI’s in the victory.
Logan Smith started and pitched the first three innings before giving way to Hunter Haddix. Haddix went the rest of the way to earn the win.
Smith won the championship game a year ago. Most coaches would have used him in the same game a year later. But Bridgeport Head Coach Robert Shields isn’t’ your average coach. He took a look at the entire picture, and decided that he would make his decisions based on giving his team the best opportunity to win. He isn’t afraid to make the necessary moves even if they are not conventional and the result is yet another championship.
The Indians lost the opening game of the sectionals to Lincoln. Since that loss there has been nothing more than utter domination for the Tribe. In the next nine games (counting tune-up contests) they outscored their opponents 93-25. Five of those were shortened victories.
On the season, they scored ten or more runs 20 times. They had nine shutouts on the campaign and 26 times they allowed three runs or less.
Bridgeport finished with a 37-3 record which was a school record. Congratulations to the Bridgeport program on a season to remember!
That will do it for now. Until next week…take care and God bless!