By NICK CARROLL
KEYSER - As temperatures climbed into the high 80's, Golden Tornado bats heated up as well scoring 7 unanswered runs to defeat Grafton 9-4 in a Section 1 Region 1 playoff game. After knocking out Berkeley Springs on Friday with a 4-3 victory, Keyser continued to stay alive in the loser's bracket by eliminating the Bearcats on Saturday from postseason play. Jackson White was the winning pitcher of record for Keyser throwing 109 pitches in 6 innings of play.

Grafton looked good early in the contest as the Bearcats scored twice in the first inning highlighted by an RBI single from Devin Vanscoy to drive in TJ Summers and another RBI single from Garrett Moats to give the Bearcats an early 2-0 edge after the top of the first inning. Keyser responded immediately as Jackson White poked an RBI single scoring 2 runs to knot the game at 2 runs a piece. Both teams went scoreless in the second inning, but the Bearcats clawed out 2 more runs in the 3rd inning as the starting pitcher Garrett Moats smacked another RBI single to give Grafton a 3-2 lead. Moats managed to work his way around the bases eventually crossing home plate on a passed ball to give Grafton a 4-2 lead heading into the bottom of the third inning.

From that point forward, Jackson White and the Golden Tornado defense shutdown Grafton the rest of the game. Meanwhile, the Keyser  offense cranked out 3 runs in the 4th inning, 3 runs in the 5th inning, and 1 more run in the 6th inning to give Keyser a 9-4 lead. In the top of the 7th inning, Mark Hixenbaugh came in to close the game for Keyser and the victory was officially sealed with a nice 6-4-3 double play to end the game. Jackson White helped his own cause at the plate with 2 hits, 2 RBI’s, and scoring 1 run. Bradly Rotruck   and Darrick Broadwater both contributed to the scoring frenzy as each player smacked 2 hits, 2 RBI’s and scored 1 run. Liam McKenzie had a good game behind the plate and in the batters box finishing with 1 hit, 1 RBI, and scoring 2 runs. Evan Moreland completed the game with 1 double, 1 single, 1 RBI, and 1 run. Ryan Shoemaker had 2 hits and scored 1 run.

The Grafton Bearcats finish the year with a 6-19 overall record. Next up for No. 4 Keyser is a sectional playoff game against the No. 2 seed Petersburg Vikings. The game was scheduled for Monday May 14th at 5:00pm however a severe thunderstorm postponed play. The field location and start time will be announced today, May 15th, hopefully before noon. Follow me on Facebook or Twitter (see above) for updates. The winner of this match will play the Frankfort Falcons in the Sectional Championship starting on Wednesday May 16th, weather permitting.