By BOB REDD
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
Richlands advanced to the Coppinger Invitational championship game with a 6-5 win over Fayetteville on Saturday afternoon at Bowen Field.
Chad Lester’s inside-the-park home run in the bottom of the fifth inning proved to be the game-winning hit and run.
Aaron Krise opened the game being hit by a pitch and came around to score on a wild pitch by Richlands starting pitcher Trent Davis.
Richlands responded with three runs in the bottom of the first. A leadoff single and stole base by Jonathan Cochran, and a double by Chase Ray tied the game at one. Ray came home on an error that allowed Michael Horton to reach and Horton scored on a single by River Michaels.
Fayetteville scored single runs in the second and third to tie the game and Cochran took over pitching duties in the third for the Blue Tornado. The Pirates forged ahead in the fourth on a pair of singles and a Richlands error.
The Blues pulled even in their half of the fourth with RBI singles by Ray and Horton.
With one out in the bottom of the fifth Lester hit a drive to deep center and raced around the bases, beating the relay throw to the plate for the inside-the-park home run that gave Richlands the lead.
Cochran gave up a triple to pitcher Trey Phares to lead off the sixth, but then retired the next six Fayetteville batters to end the game and send Richlands to the Coppinger finals against Princeton.
Brandon Waldron had three hits for the Blue Tornado and Ray had a pair of hits.
Cochran got the pitching victory as he pitched the final 4 2/3 innings. He allowed two runs on five hits, walked three and struck out one.
Phares pitched the complete game for Fayetteville and took the loss. He gave up six runs on 13 hits, did not walk a batter and struck out six.
Fayetteville…………111 200 0 — 5 7 1
Richlands………….300 210 x — 6 13 3
Phares and Krise. Davis, Cochran (3) and Yates. WP - Cochran. LP - Phares. HR-Lester.