Advertisement

Cutter's walk off sends Frankfort to Class AA state championship game

May 31—CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Lanson Orndorf had a no-hit bid through 6 1/3 innings, but it looked like it might come in defeat.

However, Uriah Cutter wasn't ready for the season to end, walking it off in the eighth inning as Frankfort defeated Herbert Hoover 2-1 in the Class AA semifinal on Friday at GoMart Ballpark.

"In 2019 we were in a pretty similar position," Frankfort head coach Matt Miller said. "They had kids come through then, it was great to see our kids come through again."

Riley Johnson broke up Orndorf's chance at a no-no with a one-hopper to center in the top of the seventh.

Orndorf struck out the next two batters, giving the Falcons (21-9) a chance to end it.

Orndorf's final line was 7 1/3 innings, one hit and four walks with eight strikeouts.

"He had command of all three pitches today," Miller said. "His fastball was good, he threw his slider for strikes. He worked his changeup phenomenally."

With two outs in the bottom of the seventh in a 1-1 game, a pop-up drifted towards Frankfort's dugout. One of the Falcons made contact with the baseball against the railing.

Despite it being a seemingly impossible play for the Hoover fielder to make — he was several feet from the baseball — the umpires ruled it interference to end the inning and send the game to extras.

After 7 1/3 innings, Orndorf left in the top of the eighth after issuing a walk.

Cam Lynch, who spent the first seven-plus innings behind the plate, took over, and with runners on the corners got a swing and a miss to end the frame.

Blake Jacobs opened the bottom of the eighth with a fly ball that sailed over the Hoover right fielder's head for a double.

Lynch was intentionally walked, then a wild pitch put two in scoring position.

Jacob Nething was also intentionally walked, loading the bases with no outs.

"We can keep fighting, we're not gonna give up," Jacobs said. "We're here to stay."

Cutter stepped in and sent a ground ball to the right side to walk it off.

"Greg (Whiteman) screamed at me, 'Touch the bag first, and then we can celebrate,'" Cutter said.

Jacobs' hit in the eighth was very similar to his fly ball to right in the first inning.

It also sailed over the right fielder, but far enough to give Jacobs a chance to round the bases for a inside the park home run.

"I was thinking two, and then I was thinking three," Jacobs said of rounding second base and heading to third. "And then I was about to stop and he waved me home. So I had to go for it."

Jacobs led Frankfort with three hits and a RBI, two of his hits went for extra bases.

Hoover tied the game in the top of the fifth off a pair of costly Falcon errors.

The first was a ground ball to the shortstop that was bobbled.

Three batters later, a pickoff attempt from the catcher to third base sailed into left field, scoring the tying run.

Tristan Harless went the distance for Herbert Hoover, allowing five hits, one earned run and eight walks with five strikeouts.

"I've played with him a couple times," Orndorf said. "He's a great pitcher. He's one of the best in the state, especially in the sophomore class. We're gonna be battling it out for two more years."

Other than the double and inside-the-park home run by Jacobs, the Falcons only sent one ball to the outfield.

"Tristan pitched a great game," Miller said. "He kept the ball down all day. It's hard to elevate pitches that are down. Later in the game, it elevated just a little bit. They went from knee high to thigh high and it gave us some opportunities."

The Falcons advance to the Class AA championship game on Saturday.

No. 4 George Washington (23-13) and No. 2 Cabell Midland (27-9) will play for the Class AAA title at 10 a.m.

Frankfort and Independence will play 50 minutes after the Class AAA game.

The Patriots (21-12) upset the reigning Class AA champion and top seed Winfield (29-6) in the other Class AA semifinal 4-3.

Independence trailed for six innings, but rallied late to stun the Generals.

"Independence is well coached, their coach (Scott Cuthbert) coached me in college," Miller said. "Scott's a great coach, he always has his team ready. What I saw were gritty kids that battle and don't quit. That's what we have too, I expect to have a lot of fun and a great game."

The Falcons will play for a state title for the first time since 2019, seeking its first championship since 1988.

"That would be amazing, it would mean everything," Orndorf said of a potential title. "We've only got one in our history, we gotta bring home two."

Jordan Kendall is a Sports Writer for the Cumberland Times-News. Email him with scores and story suggestions at jkendall@times-news.com.