Berry's no-hitter sends Wave to next round

By: 
STEVE ROGERS
Staff Writer

West Point sophomore Gray Berry threw a no-hitter and swung a hot bat to lift the West Point High baseball team over Cleveland Central 3-0 Saturday. The win advances the Green Wave to this week’s second playoff round against Region 4 winner Germantown.

That best-of-3 tries starts Friday at Germantown.

Berry went 2-for-3 at the plate with two runs batted in and a run scored. On the mound, he went the distance, throwing just 94 pitches in seven innings, while striking out five. Two walks and three hit batsmen were the only things that gave Cleveland occasional life.

The Green Wave made just two errors.

The only time Berry faced any serious trouble was in the first when a runner reached base and a hit batsman put runners on with nobody out. He settled down to get the next two on a pop cup and a strike out before an error loaded the bases. A fly ball to Davion Goree in right ended the inning and what would be Cleveland’s best shot.

The visiting Wolves stranded eight base runners, three of them were in the first inning.

Except for a two-out error in the second and a lead-off hit batsman in the fifth, Cleveland went down in order for the next four innings.

By contrast, the Green Wave took advantage of opportunities.

In the first, Berry singled with one out, courtesy runner Xavier Moody stole second, Roe Ketchum singled to shallow right to put runners at first and third and Goree came through with a sacrifice fly to left.

In the third, Brandon Lairy singled to lead off, second baseman Seth Edwards sacrificed him to second and Berry doubled to center to score Lairy. Goree was hit by a pitch later in the inning, but the Wave couldn’t manufacture another run.

While Berry continued to cruise, West Point played small ball to add a little more support in the fifth. Lariy again lead off with a single, stole second, went to third on a ground ball by Edwards and scored on a Berry ground out.

The Wave had a chance to really put things away in the sixth when Marquez Carter doubled to left, B.R. Watson put down a sacrifice bunt to get him to third and Baker Watson was hit by a pitch to put runners at first and third. But a line drive turned into a double play, ending the threat.

The Wolves’ last two at bats brought mild threats, but the Wave snuffed them out.

In the sixth, Cleveland got a lead off walk but after a strike out, a single went from hope to trouble when the lead runner was called out for missing second base.

In the seventh, Gray hit the lead off batter, struck out the next batter and then followed with a walk after a stolen base to put runners at first and second with one out. But he struck out the next batter and then induced a ground ball to Edwards at second to clinch the victory.

In addition to Berry’s two hits and two RBIs, Lairy was 2-for-2 with two runs scored. Carter and Roe Ketchum had the other two Green Wave hits.

The Wave got just one walk but had two hit batsmen. They left five runners on base.

GAME ONE

In game one, West Point secured an 8-5 road win over Cleveland Central in the opening round of the Class 5A high school baseball playoffs.

The Green Wave rode strong pitching from starter Roe Ketchum and timely hitting to claim the victory.

Roe Ketchum claimed the mound victory, giving up three unearned runs on five hits and three walks in six innings. The crafty lefty fanned 11 while throwing 120 pitches, 63 percent of which were strikes.

Ketchum gave up an unearned run in the first on a single, a passed ball and an errant pickoff throw but then shut down Cleveland for the next four innings, giving the Wave offense time to get started. Ketchum’s only trouble came in the fourth when he allowed two runners on but he worked out of that small jam.

With the Wave up 8-3, Seth Edwards pitched the seventh, giving up a two-run homer. With two outs, Cleveland used a single and a walk to bring the tying run to the plate but a routine pop up to shortstop Gray Berry clinched the big win.

Down 1-0, West Point tied the game in the third when Baker Watson lead off the inning with a single to right. He went to second on a Jake Chambless ground out. Brandon Larry advanced Watson to third with a single and when Larry stole second, Watson scored on an error on the throw.

The Wave took the lead with two runs in the third. Ketchum helped his own cause with a lead-off single and one out later, trotted home and a two-run dinger to left by Marquez Carter.West Point added some insurance run in the sixth.

Ketchum and Davion Goree opened with back-too-back singles and B.R. Watson smashed a double to center, scoring Xavier Moody who was running for Ketchum. Baker Watson followed with an RBI single to score Goree and an error on a Chambless ground ball allowed Watson to score.

Cleveland got two back in the bottom of the sixth, helped out by a West Point error.

In the top of the seventh, the Green Wave added to the cushion when Berry singled, Ketchum and Goree walked to load the bases, Carter’s drove one home with a sacrifice fly, B.R. Watson walked and Ketchum scored on a passed ball.

In addition to taking the mound win, Ketchum was 2-for-3 at the plate with a run scored. His courtesy runner Xavier Moody also scored twice.

B.R. Watson was 2-for-3 with an RBI, Baker Watson was 2-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored and Brandon Larry. Carter was 1-for-3 with his big home run plus another RBI and Berry was 1-for-4 with a run scored.

In all, seven different Wave hitters had hits and every starter reached base, spreading the offense around and keeping pressure on Cleveland pitching.

The two teams had met once earlier this season with Cleveland claiming a 6-5 win March 14 at a tournament in Grenada.

The win lifted the Green Wave, who finished the season third in Region 2, to 11-14 on the year. Cleveland, which finished second in Region 3, fell to 13-10-1 entering Saturday night’s second game in the series.

West Point (12-14) will face 20-6 Germantown, winner of Region 4, in the second round this week.

Category: