Chesapeake earns share of OVC crown

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 7, 2004

PEDRO - The Chesapeake baseball championship drought is over.

The Chesapeake Panthers outscored the Rock Hill Redmen 16-9 Thursday to win a share of the Ohio Valley Conference championship.

The Panthers are 14-6 and finish 8-2 in the OVC. It marks Chesapeake's first OVC baseball title since 1987.

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"It would have been nice to have the whole pie, but this piece I'm gnawing on right now tastes pretty sweet," Panthers coach Joe Waugh said.

"We split with Fairland who was the favorite, so sharing the title doesn't diminish what these kids have done. As far as I'm concerned, a championship is a championship."

Justin Finley went 4-5 and Jeff Gilkison 3-5 to lead the Panthers. Matt Whitmore was 2-3 while P.J. Rase, Benji Pyles, Keith Marcum and Zach Henderson were all 2-5.

Michael Williams was 3-4 as the Redmen had nine hits. T.J. Blagg was 2-3 and Nathan Wagner 2-4.

Rase picked up the win with relief help from Gilkison.

The Panthers erupted with seven runs in the first inning.

Rase, Pyles and Finley all singled on consecutive pitches to make it 1-0.

Gilkison singled home two more, Whitmore was hit by a pitch and Phillip Butcher grounded out as a run scored.

Henderson and Kersten Harris followed with RBI doubles and Rase singled home the final run.

The lead went to 10-0 in the second inning.

Finley singled to start the inning, Gilkison was safe on an error and runners were at second and third. Whitmore doubled the runners home and later scored when Butcher grounded out.

Rock Hill came back to get four in the bottom of the inning.

Williams singled, Willie Anderson walked and Blagg had a run-scoring single. Aaron Miller then slugged a three-run homer.

But the Panthers came right back with four runs in the third inning to make it 14-4.

Rase walked, Pyles was safe on an error and Finley had a run-scoring single. The runners moved up on a passed ball and Gilkison had a two-run single. Marcum doubled home Gilkison to cap the rally.

The Redmen answered with two runs in the bottom of the inning.

Matt Wilson, Wagner and Williams all singled for a run. Micah Settle grounded out as the second run came home.

Blagg singled, stole second, moved up on a fly ball and scored when Justin Lavender was safe on an error as Rock Hill cut the deficit to 14-7 in the third inning.

Chesapeake got the run back in the top of the fifth as Whitmore singled, stole second, took third on an overthrow and came home when Butcher drove in his third run with a ground out.

Rock Hill made it 15-8 in the bottom of the inning. Wagner singled, Williams reached on an error and Miller hit a sacrifice fly.

Each team got a run in the seventh.

Gilkison singled, Whitmore walked and Butcher and Henderson singled in a run.

Rock Hill got its run when Williams singled, Settle walked, a balk advanced the runners and Blagg grounded out as a run scored.


Rock Hill0421101-993

P.J. Rase, Jeff Gilkison (5) and Justin Finley. Nathan Wagner, Michael Williams (2) and T.J. Blagg, Nathan Wagner (2). W-Rase (3-K, 2-W). (Gilkison 3-K, 3-W.) L-Wagner (0-K, 0-W). 2B-Chesapeake: Benji Pyles, Matt Whitmore, Keith Marcum, Zach Henderson, Kersten Harris. HR-Rock Hill: Aaron Miller. Hitting-Chesapeake: P.J. Rase 2-5, Benji Pyles 2-5, Justin Finley 4-5, Jeff Gilkison 3-5, Matt Whitmore 2-3, Keith Marcum 2-5, Zach Henderson 2-5, Phillip Butcher 1-5, Kersten Harris 1-5; Rock Hill: T.J. Blagg 2-3, Nathan Wagner 2-4, Michael Williams 3-4, Aaron Miller 1-5, Matt Wilson 1-4.