EYEWITNESS SPORTSCal Goes Out On Top
from Eyewitness News Online
May 11, 2014
(Courtesy WVSU Athletic Department)
Led by a determined group of seniors the Yellow Jacket baseball team refused to let retiring coaching legend Coach Cal Bailey go out anything but a champion Sunday afternoon in Beckley.
Notre Dame scored five times in the the first inning and held off a pair of WVSU rallies to win the first game of the day 7-3 and force a winner-take-all game two.
The Jackets took the title with a 4-1 win in a gutsy performance befitting what was very possibly the last game in Bailey's 37-year career.
Senior Devin Bowles started the game on the mound for WVSU just two days after throwing eight innings in Thursday's tournament opening win over Shepherd.
With adrenaline replacing rest Bowles worked five near perfect innings allowing just one baserunner to reach on an infield error. He struck out six and walked none.
After Bowles struck out a Falcons hitter to end the first he pumped his fist and yelled encouragement at his teammates.
Cody Smith listened.
He drilled the second pitch he saw over the left field fence to give the Yellow Jackets a lead that they would never surrender.
Josh Kiser's sacrifice fly in the fifth scored Trenton Porter to make the score 2-0.
Will Ore came on to toss a hitless sixth.
Senior Jack Hudson doubled in the sixth to drive home Noah Blackhurst and Eric Craft, both also in their final season, to run the lead to 4-0.
Another senior, Stephen Workman, came in to pitch the seventh and was immediately hit on the right thigh by a line drive. He popped up and threw the runner out at first and then waved Bailey away when he started to come check on the injury. Workman induced popups from two of the next three batters to finish off the frame.
Bailey then turned the game over to the Yellow Jacket's all-time saves leader, Joshua Falbo.
After giving up a pair of walks and a single to three of the first four batters he faced Falbo settled in and took control.
With the crowd standing and cheering every pitch he struck out Notre Dame's first hitter in the ninth.
The next batter singled up the middle but Falbo fanned the following batter and then coaxed a groundball to third that Kiser tossed to senior Andrew Pickering at first and the celebration began.
It is the 18th title for Bailey who now has 1,063 career victories.
The Mountain East Conference does not yet have an automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament. West Virginia State did not qualify for the postseason. Fellow league member Shepherd did. The Mountain Lions will face Winston-Salem State as the two seed in the Atlantic Region Tournament next week.
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