MORGANTOWN — In the rubble of West Virginia’s hapless week at Texas that integrated a 5-game losing streak and speedy elimination from the Major 12 baseball championship in Arlington, there stood a single heroic figure.
Left-handed starter Ben Hampton stared disaster in the face whilst on the road and discovered a way to deal with it, providing West Virginia a possibility to remain alive in the tournament when points seemed to be slipping away speedily.
A scenographer is required right here. Hampton has been VVU’s No. 1 beginning pitcher all season. He was the man who began the game on Friday in the weekend series, and Friday was a essential game since otherwise you are facing the finest pitcher the other group has to supply, and with a win you only have to split the game on Saturday and Sunday to win the series .
The junior left-hander compiled a five-1 record by means of Could 12 when he lost a difficult five-two choice to Texas Tech, following that with maybe the most critical commence he’s ever created as a college pitcher.
With the added rest since coach Randy Massey held him out till the final game of the series in Texas, hoping it would be a tune-up for the Major 12 Tournament rather than a game that would avoid the Longhorns from choosing up VVU in a 3-way sweep. compared to the common season championship, Hampton was basically not himself.
VVU dropped 22 runs in the initial two games of that series and a major work was required from Hampton, but it just wasn’t there. He lasted just six hits, going just a single-third of an inning ahead of Mazzei pulled him in what would be a 4-run initial inning for Texas, permitting them to cruise to the victory.
Mazzei decided to gamble on freshman David Manahan in the initial game of the Major 12 tournament and retain Hampton, but VVU was defeated in the double-elimination tournament opener by Texas Tech.
Oklahoma State was subsequent, so this was a single of these do-or-die elimination games entrusted to Hampton, but it was a single he was getting into right after two straight losses and the debacle that was Texas’ commence.
No a single who has been there can know how complicated it is to be in that scenario. Hunting for a actual-life comparable, possibly you are a seller and you have just lost your most significant account and now have the chance to take on an even larger a single.
You may well shine your footwear nicely, consider of some good points to say, but you have to be additional nervous than you need to be distracted as you consider about the consequences of what will take place if it gets away.
Hampton walked to the mound and right away discovered himself knee deep in difficulty, the bases loaded, no one out and Blaine Trexel beginning to warm up in the bullpen. A sacrifice fly scored a single run and a dribble by Hampton himself made the second out as the second run scored.
It was two- and Hampton knew he was swimming in shark-infested waters, but he wasn’t
to retire and whilst placing collectively a heroic pitching line that featured six innings of perform, two runs, every unearned and just 3 hits permitted.
It turned out to be the initial time in two years that he did not permit a single earned run in a commence, a heroic functionality.
He did not save the game, but he may well have saved the season, since if VVU had gone down, there is no telling what the NCAA choice committee may well have completed. Offered that the loss was only three-two and the game was a nicely-played battle that came down to the final out with the Mountaineers leaving the bases loaded, it is practically particular that they will be integrated in the tournament field.
“That may well have been the most significant point that came out these days,” Mazzei mentioned in his postgame press conference. “We required it [Hampton] to play nicely these days, and he did. That is truly encouraging going forward. That is a single of the points that was supposed to take place when we got right here.
The essential to regrouping amid what seemed destined to be a second straight quick outing, possibly a single hit away from retiring for Trakel, was as a great deal a solution of his belief in his teammates as in himself.
“I usually think in our offense and they’ve been good for us all year,” he mentioned. “So, I knew if we could remain inside two runs, we would have a good possibility to win.” We have some good guys in the bullpen, like Carlson Reed, waiting, so I just knew I had to give us 4, 5 or six robust innings and retain us in the game.”
Add Hampton’s functionality, which integrated his 200th hit, to Major 12 Player of the Year JJ Weatherholt snapping his late-season slump with a single, double, stroll and two strikeouts, and regardless of the losing streak, VVU can make the NCAA with new self-assurance.
“It is a great sign for us,” performed by Mazei of Wetherholt. “The identical way when LeBron (James) scores a lot for the Lakers, that is a great sign, when JJ is on base, that provides us a actual possibility to win.” When he’s on base, he’s contagious to the rest of the group. When it hits, most of us have great at-bats.”
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