South Charleston pitcher Jeremy Graley jumps for joy after beating GW.
KENNY KEMP | Gazette-Mail
South Charleston’s record hasn’t always been impressive this season, but its pitching has been.
Jeremy Graley continued that trend Friday afternoon, tossing a six-hit complete game and taming George Washington’s bats as the host Black Eagles registered a 4-1 victory during the Ed Carter Memorial Tournament.
Graley, who struck out six and walked two, allowed only four bunt singles and two other infield hits against the Patriots (8-7), who hold down the No. 2 spot in the Mountain State Athletic Conference rankings.
South Charleston got three unearned runs in the bottom of the first inning against GW’s Aidan Johnson and tacked on an insurance run in the sixth on Ty Sizemore’s single that scored Tyson Burke, who had doubled.
The game was 3-1 after the first inning and remained that way until the bottom of the sixth as Graley and Johnson kept putting up zeroes on the scoreboard.
“After the first inning or two, I settled down,’’ Graley said, “and started throwing strikes. I just felt from there on that we had it. You’ve got to try and give their 3-4-5 [batters] something to hit, but you also want to try and pitch around them and that’s what we did, and it worked out for us.’’
SC’s three most-used pitchers this season — Graley, left-hander Alex Jarrell and Nick Workman — all hold earned run averages of 1.15 or lower, but the Black Eagles began the weekend still under .500 as a team.
“It sucks not to have a whole lot of wins,’’ Graley said, “but all that matters is that we’re working toward sectionals.’’
The Patriots took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first, scoring on a sacrifice fly by Preston Taylor, their first out of the inning. In the first three innings, they twice had bases loaded with none out and in the other frame placed two runners aboard with two outs, but managed just a single tally.
“It’s tough to put pressure on when you’re not swinging at good pitches in the zone,’’ said GW coach Mike Davis, “and you’re not aggressive in the zone. We’re swinging at pitches out of the zone, helping him out and there’s zero pressure put on the defense when you’re doing that.
“Then we’ve got to come out and create some offense by laying down bunts. And it is what it is. We could never get that timely hit, and we made a stupid baserunning mistake we shouldn’t be making this late in the year to run ourselves out of an inning. You can’t win close ballgames when you’re doing those type things.’’
Johnson went the distance for the Patriots, permitting five hits and one unearned run in six innings, fanning two and walking one.