Allegany beats rain, then Mountain Ridge, 12-2, in region semifinals
May 13—CUMBERLAND — Allegany utilized every last player on its roster Saturday; some at the plate, some in the field and some on its playoff-ready grounds crew.
The Campers and Mountain Ridge moved their Class 1A West Region I semifinal game up to 9 a.m. to beat the worst of the rain, but the conditions were far from ideal.
Intermittent precipitation fell, steadying as the game wore on, and Allegany's bench players scurried between innings to place a drying agent on the mound and batter's box to keep the field playable.
Just as the rain really picked up, Griffin Madden sent everyone to their cars, bludgeoning a three-run walk-off home run over the left-field fence to give top-seeded Allegany a 12-2 victory over fourth-seeded Mountain Ridge in five innings.
"We dealt with some weather and some adversity, but we really wanted to get this game in," Allegany head coach Jon Irons said. "We can't control the weather. What we can control is our energy and our focus.
"Everybody was doing a job today. These guys are buying in."
The victory moved Allegany (17-4) into the region title game on Tuesday, where it'll face the winner of No. 2 seed Northern (15-4) and No. 3 seed Southern (9-7).
The other semifinal game in Accident scheduled for Saturday was postponed to Monday at 4:30 p.m., giving the Campers a decided advantage. If a pitcher in that contest exceeds 30 pitches, they won't be eligible to pitch Tuesday.
Mountain Ridge (10-9) came to Cumberland confident after handing Allegany its first area loss in two years just nine days prior, but the Campers pounced early with a five-run second inning and never looked back.
Offensively, the Miners managed just one base hit in five innings against Madden.
"We had one bad inning, and they kind of took advantage of it," Mountain Ridge head coach Todd Snyder said. "We kind of struggled there to find the strike zone."
A hit by pitch and back-to-back walks loaded the bases with one out in the second. Allegany catcher Josef Sneathen recorded the first hit of the game for either team, grounding a ball to the left side to plate a pair.
Sneathen struggled at the plate during the regular season, but his knock sparked the Campers' offense early. He added another RBI hit in the fourth.
"I hadn't found my swing until this game," Sneathen said. "It felt really good."
Cayden Bratton doubled in two more with two outs, and Madden hit an RBI single to score him one batter later.
Mountain Ridge benefitted from an error in the third to plate its first run, and Landon McAlpine, who recently signed with Salem University, cut the deficit to 5-2 with a two-out triple down the right-field line.
That's the closest Mountain Ridge would get the rest of the way, as Allegany tacked on two runs in the third and two in the fourth to lead 9-2.
Allegany came into the bottom of the fifth needing three runs for the run-rule victory, but the first two Campers got out.
Jackson Resh walked and Bratton singled to put two on for Madden, and there was one thing on his mind.
"I was thinking, if I can get a pitch to hit, try and end the game early," he said. "I saw a fastball, about middle-middle, thigh high. Nothing better you could ask for there."
Madden, a James Madison signee, finished 2 for 4 with a home run, four RBIs and two runs scored, Bratton was 2 for 3 with a double, two ribbies and three runs, and Sneathen went 2 for 3 and drove in three.
Caden Long hit a triple, and Myles Bascelli doubled.
On the mound, Madden went the distance allowing two unearned runs on one hit with six strikeouts and three walks in five innings of work.
McAlpine took the loss fo the Miners. He surrendered nine runs (seven earned) on six hits in three frames, striking out three and walking four. Parker Ferraro pitched the final 1 2/3 innings, allowing three runs.
Allegany now awaits the winner of the Garrett County game in the region final.
The Campers swept both possible opponents during the regular season, beating Northern, 21-0 and 15-10, and Southern, 13-3 and 16-2.
"We're gonna play a good team regardless of who we play on Tuesday," Irons said. "We have to approach it with the same energy. We just talked about how every game could be our last right now."
Alex Rychwalski is a sports reporter at the Cumberland Times-News. Follow him on Twitter @arychwal.