By NICK CARROLL __ WEIRTON, W.Va. - On Thursday evening a boisterous home crowd dressed in red and black packed the stands at Edwin J Bowman Field looking to celebrate another Weir regional championship, but the Frankfort Falcons failed to flinch in the face of adversity by fostering a flurry of runs to fend off elimination and force a game 3 finale.
The first 3 innings went scoreless as neither team could take advantage of defensive errors. In the top of the 4th inning with 1 out on the board, the count was full for Foster Conis and he knocked a line drive to center field reaching 2nd base. Blake Wasson followed and he doubled on a line drive to right field scoring Foster Conis to give Frankfort an early 1-0 lead.
Weir quickly answered in the bottom of the 4th inning taking advantage of a leadoff walk as Cody Tate hit a double to left field driving in Ryan Bodrog in a close play at the plate. Frankfort left fielder Devin Lynch tossed the ball from the outfield to catcher Nick Corwell who made a valiant attempt to tag out Ryan Bodrog before touching home plate, but for some reason the umpire did not make a call and stood frozen like a snowman, failing to signal the runner safe or out. Frankfort Coach Matt Miller was rightfully upset with the lack of communication from the umpire and voiced his discontent. After a brief verbal exchange the lead umpire tossed up his right arm and relegated Coach Miller to the bench for the remainder of the contest. Coach Miller talked about the situation which caged him in the dugout, "I try to stay cool, calm, and collected. But in a situation where I feel like I got to protect my guys, I protect my guys. I love these guys. We are a family and we are a team. I'm wearing a shirt right now that says Family with the Frankfort Falcon on it, and that's who we are."
Fueled by faith in the Frankfort family, the Fightin' Falcons fought back with fire and fury not allowing another Red Rider run the remainder of the game. After picking off Weir's lead runner to end the 4th inning, Frankfort recaptured the lead in the 5th inning, scoring 3 runs, highlighted by Foster Conis doubling to score Nick Corwell and Zack Whitacre.
Frankfort kept the offense rolling in the 6th inning as Nick Corwell hit a sacrifice fly to score Wyatt Yates, then Caleb Hare hammered a double to right field scoring Devin Lynch and Brendan Whiteman to give Frankfort a 7-1 cushion. Zack Whitacre and Caleb Hare both took advantage of Red Rider errors each crossing home plate to score a run bringing the score to 9-1.
Foster Conis scooped up the win on the mound throwing 110 pitches in 7 innings allowing 5 hits, 1 run, and striking out 4. Defensively Frankfort committed 1 error in the field compared to 5 errors by the Red Riders. At the plate Foster Conis led the Falcons with 2 doubles, 2 RBI's, and 1 run while Caleb Hare went 2-for-4 with 2 RBI's, and 1 run. Blake Wasson had 1 double, 1 single, with 1 RBI, and Zack Whitacre finished with 1 hit, 1 RBI, and 2 runs. Brendan Whiteman went 1-for-3 with 1 walk and 2 runs while Nick Corwell was 1-for-2 with 1 RBI and 1 run. Brady Whitacre added 1 hit to the total while Devin Lynch and Wyatt Yates each added 1 run.
For the Red Riders Elijah Gillette, Ryan Bodrog, Reid Hoover, Drew Curtis and Cody Tate each collected 1 hit. Chris Gillette takes the loss on the mound for Weir throwing 106 pitches in 7 innings allowing 10 hits, 7 earned runs, and striking out 7 batters.
Next up is the rubber match in this best-of-three series to determine the Region 1 champion and a berth into the AA W.Va State Championship Final Four. Game 3 will take place in Short Gap on Friday May 25th, with first pitch scheduled for noon. Three teams have already secured their spot in the AA Final Four; Bridgeport (26-10) won Region 2, James Monroe (17-8) won Region 3, and Wayne (25-4) won Region 4. Will the Frankfort Falcons (22-5) or the Weir Red Riders (11-15) join these teams in Charleston?