MADISON - Scott High School had the bases juiced with two outs in the bottom of the 10th inning when Nathan Kuhn took a fastball in his thigh and Aaron Epling was forced home from third base to give Scott an 8-7 win and their second Class AA Region IV Section 2 championship in three years.
Interestingly, it was three years ago to the date versus the Tigers that Kuhn was the winning pitcher in that game as he was in this one. He scored the tying run in 2016 and drove in the winning one on this cool, drizzling evening in his home park.
"I saw it (the ball) coming at me and I wasn't about to move," said Kuhn after the game.
His father and coach, Brett Kuhn, said the game represented the guts and determination of his squad. He said that coaching strategy went out the window by the 10th.
"There really was no strategy by the 10th," he said. "You get guys on base, you try to advance them and score them and pray that your pitching can hold for another chance to end it. You're just trying to survive inning by inning."
Coach Kuhn praised Aaron Epling for his relief pitching performance as he came in from the bullpen to rest starter Peyton Brown.
"Aaron threw his guts out tonight," he said. "He was tremendous. Nathan got into a bad situation in the eighth and he made some tough pitches and our defense stood tall behind him. We had some missed plays in the 10th and Hunter Eplin got the big double to tie it and (Aaron) Adkins got a big double to get us in scoring position. Issac (Miller) and Nathan with the huge homeruns early - I can't say enough about them. We had every chance to fail and we didn't."
Chapmanville came out hot and touched up Brown early. With the bases loaded, Brennan Williams walked to plate Conner Mullins. The Skyhawks answered when Kuhn blasted his second homer in three days as the southpaw pulled a ball to right field that cleared the fence to tie the game.
In the second frame, a balk by Brown sent Cole Ferrell home for the Tigers. Casey Hurley doubled on a 0-1 count, scoring Mullins again.
Chase Berry blasted a double in the third that sent home JD Ferrell and Casey Hurley and the Tigers led 5-1.
Hunter Eplin scored DL Bowman for Scott with a sharp daisy cutter that found the outfield. Scott wasn't done thanks to a mammoth homerun blast from centerfielder Isaac Miller. The shot made it 5-3 and visually, Scott came to life and it was a turning point in the game.
Chapmanville did find the plate again when Garrett Adkins doubled home B Williams in the top half of the fourth.
Courtesy runner Dylan Grant scored for Scott on a throwing error and Chapmanville still led, 6-3.
Another throwing error in the fifth saw Aaron Epling crossing the dish. Miller tied the game in the sixth when he stole second and then scored on an error by the Tiger's outfield.
It is worthy of noting that Carter Lyles made two defensive plays in the sixth that prevented runs from scoring, particularly when he knocked down a grounder and came up throwing a strike to Trenton Short at home, who tagged out a Chapmanville baserunner.
Jaxson Turner scored for Chapmanville in the 10th before the Eplin double scored Grant to tie the game and set up Kuhn's final at bat heroics.
Peyton Brown started the game for the Skyhawks. He went one-and-two-thirds innings, allowing five runs on seven hits, striking out one and walking one. Hurley started the game for Chapmanville. He lasted seven innings, allowing eight hits and six runs while striking out seven.
Kuhn was the winning pitcher for Scott. He allowed two hits and one run over two innings, striking out three and walking one. Aaron Adkins threw six-and-a-third innings in relief out of the bullpen.
The Skyhawks racked up 10 hits. Miller, Kuhn, and Hunter Eplin all managed multiple hits. Eplin, Kuhn, and Miller all had two hits to lead Scott.
Chapmanville racked up 14 hits in the game. Berry, Williams and Hurley all collected multiple hits for the Tigers. Berry led Chapmanville with four hits in six at bats.
Scott will face Point Pleasant in Regional action. Point Pleasant downed host Winfield 5-1 to capture the Class AA Region IV Section 1 baseball championship.
Reporter Phil Perry can be reached at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @philipdperry.