Derrick Webb, Staff Writer
CHILLICOTHE — For the first time since 2012, Westfall’s baseball program has given itself a chance to take home a district championship trophy.
In dramatic fashion, the Mustangs (22-4) earned a come-from-behind 6-5 victory over Rock Hill in eight innings at VA Memorial Stadium, Friday afternoon — scoring four runs in their final two at-bats to do so.
“We just kept telling our guys to find a way. They never gave up,” Thomas said. “We had some great at-bats up and we put the ball in play when we needed to most. When you put the ball in play, good things happen.”
The Redmen (19-6) struck first and took a 1-0 lead, getting a run in the top of the first inning when Kadin France drove in Logan Hankins with a soft line drive. They took a 2-0 lead in the third when Seth Nichols singled and later scored on a passed ball.
Westfall didn’t score until the bottom of the fifth.
After Jayden Hammond led off the inning with a double, Zach Gibson entered to pinch run. Gibson moved to third on a flyout to center and scored on an error to cut the lead in half.
In the sixth, Westfall tied the game at 2-2 when Brayton Felger scored on a bang-bang fielder’s choice play — scoring from second base and barely beating a throw home.
In the seventh, on just a single base hit, Rock Hill scored three runs and used four bunts to do so — two of which were squeeze plays — taking a 5-2 lead.
The Mustangs, unbelievably, answered in the bottom half.
Eric Corzatt and Lucas Blackburn tallied back-to-back singles to begin the frame before later scoring on a fielder’s choice and an error. After Titan Williams reached on the same error, he tied the game on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Felger.
The Mustangs put the final nail in Rock Hill’s coffin, scoring on the Redmen’ sixth error of the day in the bottom of the eighth as Hammond came prancing home.
“We knew what we needed to do, which was get baserunners on base,” Hammond said. “After that, everything else just kind of snowballed.”
Hammond scored on a ball “put in play” by Jay Wyman, the Mustangs’ nine-hole hitter.
“Jay put the ball in play and like I said, when that happens, good things happen,” Thomas said. “We kind of pieced things together, put the ball in play and made things happen. That’s all I can say.”
Hammond finished 2-for-4 with a double and two runs, Felger was 2-for-3 with a run and an RBI, and Corzatt went 2-for-4 run and was credited with the pitching win after tossing a scoreless eighth inning.
Blackburn threw seven innings in the no-decision while allowing just three earned runs on five hits and striking out four. He was also 2-for-3 with a run.
Westfall advances to take on Wheelersburg at 1:30 p.m. in a Division III district final, Saturday at VA Memorial Stadium.
The last time the Mustangs were in a district title game — 2012 — they fell to Piketon. The last Westfall won a district title was in 2010, beating Valley.