The baseball wasn’t particularly pretty.
Virginia High’s bats overcame some atypical lapses, and the Bearcats rapped out a 16-6, six-inning win over Gate City in the Clinch Mountain District tournament semifinals.
“There are some mental things we’ve got to clean up, being out of position and assuming things in this game that we have to correct defensively. Down the road in a tight game, it could come back to bite us,” said Virginia High coach Mark Daniels, whose squad’s 15 hits overshadowed three errors and three hit batsmen.
The Bearcats (19-2) will face John Battle in today’s 4:15 p.m. finals. The Trojans beat Lebanon 9-5 earlier Friday in a game that saw a combined eight errors. There will be no CMD consolation game.
Friday’s game between Gate City and Virginia High wrapped up with just an hour to spare before the Bearcats seniors needed to be at the school for commencement.
The Blue Devils (4-18) were viable through the first three innings. Virginia High led just 3-2 after Gate City plated a run on Michael Collier’s single.
The wheels came off for Blue Devils starter John Brooks (0-4) in the fourth inning. The Bearcats pushed across six runs on five hits and an error.
In the fifth, Gate City scored four runs off one hit, a walk and three hit batters. Bearcats left-hander Ben Slagle (6-1) plunked two of them, signaling the end of his 4 1-3 inning shift.
Virginia High added another run in the fifth when Austin Daniels scored on Austin Miles’ double with help from a throwing error.
With much pomp and circumstance, the Bearcats got it done in the sixth on four runs off four hits and a walk. Chandler Davis turned out the lights with his two-RBI walk-off double.
Cody Smith went 3-for-5 with four RBIs for the ’Cats and Davis was 2-for-5 with three RBIs. Chandler Daniels had two hits, including a double, and an RBI.
J.T. Stevens had two hits for Gate City. Hunter Wolfe had a double, Collier had an RBI single and Corey Salyers had a sacrifice fly.
“We didn’t quit. We battled back and then we struggled a little bit,” said Gate City coach Robbie Perry.
“We played a good ball team. In my opinion, the best team in the region."