Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

PREP BASEBALL - STATE TOURNAMENT SEMIFINALS ; MASTERPIECE THEATER; Hoffman Strikes out 18, Wahama Downs Man 3-0

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

PREP BASEBALL - STATE TOURNAMENT SEMIFINALS ; MASTERPIECE THEATER; Hoffman Strikes out 18, Wahama Downs Man 3-0

Article excerpt

In backing Jake Adkins, Man committed three errors in a game in which one was going to be far too many. That's because as well as Adkins threw, Wahama's Philip Hoffman was even better, putting together one of the most dazzling pitching performances in the history of the state tournament as the Class A defending champion White Falcons earned a 3-0 win in a semifinal Friday at Appalachian Power Park.

Wahama will face Wheeling Central for the Class A championship Saturday afternoon, 50 minutes after the conclusion of the Class AA title game, which is scheduled to start at 10 a.m. Wheeling Central used a five-run seventh-inning rally to get past Pendleton County 10- 9 in the other semifinal on Friday.

Hoffman was completely dominant in a rematch of last year's championship game, piling up a whopping 18 strikeouts with no walks in a two-hit shutout, including retiring the last 18 in a row - 15 via strikeout.

All of this while needing just 87 pitches, 84 of which he claimed were fastballs. Hoffman was clocked in the mid-to-upper 80-mph range all day, and Man couldn't cope with that velocity.

"Coming in, I knew they couldn't hit the fastball very well, so that's what I stuck with, Hoffman said. "I think I threw two breaking pitches. I threw one changeup too.

"We know we get one run and they start celebrating because they know as long as he keeps rocking and firing, we're going to be all right, Wahama coach Tom Cullen said. "Straight gas. Foot on the throttle and keep it there.

It was nothing new for Hoffman, who struck out 20 in his high school debut for Federal Hocking, Ohio, as a freshman two years ago.

After Friday's performance, Hoffman will most likely end the season with 162 strikeouts in 79 innings - more than two per inning.

"In the game with Charleston Catholic he was rocking and throwing like this, Cullen said. "In the game with Trimble [Ohio], one of the best teams in our [Tri-Valley Conference] league, and he had 18 strikeouts against them. If you'd told me that I'd have said, You're crazy, he's not going to do it.' Then in the sectional against a team not as good as these guys, he struck out 18.

"He was locked in. I'll take that any day. …

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