Charleston – Prior to Saturday’s Class A semifinal clash with No. 4 seed Charleston Catholic, top-seeded Williamstown had never made an appearance in the state baseball championship game.
Thanks to the Irish, that unfortunate trend continued for the Yellowjackets.
Erupting for five runs in the top of the fifth inning, Charleston Catholic stunned Williamstown 7-4 to advance to the Class A title game Saturday against the winner of Wahama and three-time defending state champion Moorefield.
“It was a hard fought game. We thought with Jonah (DiCocco) on the mound that we had a shot at them,” Charleston Catholic head coach Will Bobinger. “Even though they were the No. 1 seed, they had not seen Jonah and he was able to stay ahead of them and keep them off balance. If it hadn’t been for a few errors on bunts, it would have been a whole lot easier for us, but we survived.”
Catholic put two runs up in the third inning on a single from Michael Ferrell that scored Gage Tawney. Ferrell then scored on a double from Gannon Morris for a 2-0 lead.
A couple of loose throws by the Irish on sacrifice bunt attempts in the bottom of the fourth led to two runs for the Yellowjackets to even the game.
Charleston Catholic answered immediately and broke things open in the fifth inning.
Luke Blaydes opened the inning with a single and when he was ruled safe on the throw from a sacrifice bunt attempt, the Irish took full advantage.
Three straight singles and a fielder’s choice was followed by a single from Hayden Carringer for the 7-2 lead.
“We have been playing all year to get better. The last third of the season our guys have been hitting the ball really hard,” Bobinger said. “The first time through the line-up we didn’t take very good approaches at the plate. The second time through we were able to get some line-drive swings and some hard contact to do what we needed to do.”
For his part, DiCocco remained amazingly calm for his first-ever appearance on the state tournament stage.
“It was amazing that I got to pitch on this stage. Give it up to my team for getting those hits in the first couple innings. I mediated this morning a little bit before I got here to try and keep myself calm for the game,” DiCocco said.
The freshman sensation was able to battle through a pair of throwing errors on his own account that lead to three of the Williamstown runs.
“You just have to back on the mound, take a few deep breaths and get back in the groove,” DiCocco said.
Charleston Catholic is back in the championship game for the first time since 2019 when they dropped a 4-2 decision to Moorefield. The last baseball title for the Irish was 2017 with an 8-2 win over Ravenswood.
“We cannot afford to (make those errors) tomorrow,” Bobinger said. “We will talk a little bit here about our defense and the approaches we took at the plate. Then we will relax and see who we play tomorrow.”