Ridgeview, WV

Clay High baseball team defeats Ridgeview Panthers in regional playoff game

Tony Salazar

Photo byDiane Salazar

The Clay High Blue Devils baseball team got a 5-3 Regional Semifinal victory at home Friday night over the in-county rival Ridgeview Panthers.

The Blue Devils got a revenge win over the Panthers after the Panthers got a dominating 8-1 win over the Blue Devils in the District Championship two weeks ago.

Similar to the District Championship, Clay’s offense struggled at the start of the game and fell behind 3-0.

Ridgeview got their first run of the game with an RBI single up the middle from Billy Girgis to score Xavier Harris.

Ridgeview’s next two runs came in the third inning courtesy of an RBI double from Alfredo Jimenez to score Girgis and a Clay error off a Clayton Gulbrand ground ball scored Jimenez to put the Panthers up 3-0.

Girgis and the Panthers' defense were in control of the game until the bottom of the fifth inning. Clay’s offense decided to wake up and scored all five of their runs in the fifth inning. The inning started off with a double from Aidan Hampton off the center field wall. Merrick Rapoza walked and a perfectly placed bunt from Sean Alvers loaded the bases for the Blue Devils with no outs. Cole Carnell delivered an RBI single and an errant pick play from Ridgeview allowed Rapoza to score from third. Chase Haggard got an RBI off a squeeze play. Josh Rouw and Easton McMahan got back-to-back RBI doubles.

McMahan started on the mound for the Blue Devils with Eli Roberts coming in to close the game. McMahan finished the game with five innings pitched, one strikeout, five hits, three runs and one earned run given up. Roberts earned the save with two innings pitched while striking out three batters with one walk and no runs given up.

Girgis started on the mound for the Panthers and finished the game with four and two-thirds innings pitched, two strikeouts, six hits and five earned runs. Keegan Roach came in for relief and finished with one and a third inning pitched with one strikeout, one hit and no runs given up.

One of the keys to victory for the Blue Devils was the home-field advantage. Clay High had over 30 baseball alumni and over 500 people in the crowd that were cheering loud during the Blue Devils' five-run inning.

Clay High had roughly 500 people in attendance for Friday's game against the Ridgeview Panthers.Photo byMeghan Owens

Photo byMeghan Owens

Clay will host the 5A FHSAA Region 1 Championship Tuesday night against the winner of the Columbia versus Lincoln matchup.

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I am a graduate of the University of North Florida with a major in communication with a focus in journalism and a minor in sports management.

Green Cove Springs, FL

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