MADISON — Point Pleasant's Kyelar Morrow hurled a shutout while allowing four hits over seven innings and striking out two as they defeated Scott 1-0 in Class AA Region 4 action on Monday in Madison.
Scott's own ace Carter Lyles went seven innings, allowing one run on three hits and striking out 10 while absorbing a gut-wrenching loss.
Scott (25-6) was unable to advance the few runners they did have on base. Head coach Andrew Blain's Big Blacks (23-6) were looking to snag a win in Madison and take the series back to Mason County.
"Carter threw a magnificent game against a quality opponent," said Scott Coach Brett Kuhn. "We couldn't muster much against (Morrow). He changed speeds really well and kept us off balance. We've got to regroup today and go to their place and get a win. I feel confident that our guys are ready to take care of business. Hats off to them, they played excellent defense and squeezed out a very competitive game."
Hitting for both squads was scarce as the aces for both teams took the bump for way was a duel from the first pitch.
The only real offensive fireworks came in the fifth inning when the Big Black's Tanner Mitchell singled Wyatt Wilson home from third for the game's only run.
Morrow, only a sophomore was efficient in his dismantling of the Skyhawk offense. The tall, athletic hurler relied primarily on heavy doses of fastballs supported with a quality changeup that saw Scott hitters chopping foul balls on early swings after being set up with a healthy dose of heaters.
"He changed speeds as well as anyone we've seen," said Kuhn. "I saw him pitch against Hurricane and we knew he was a handful."
This game was all about the pitching and Morrow's counterpart Lyles did not disappoint.
"Carter was hitting his spots and setting hitters up well," Kuhn added. "He pitched the way we knew he would in a game like this. I can't say enough about his effort."
The game was one of defensive plays on both sides with Scott center fielder Isaac Miller making what was nearly the play of the game in the sixth when he took a sharp angle to reach a ball in deep-right center, he made the catch and fired a fastball to first where he nearly doubled-up a Point Pleasant base runner.
Fittingly, Point Pleasant turned a textbook double play to end the game as shortstop Hunter Blain grazed the bag at second and threw a low strike to first baseman Brody Jeffers.
Hunter Eplin, Aaron Epling, Miller, and Peyton Brown each collected one hit to lead the Skyhawks.
Brown, who has posted a 1.73 ERA this season for Scott was set to take the hill versus Point Pleasant in game two.
Scott, who has been touted as southern West Virginia's best chance for a deep post-season run in Class AA is backed into a corner early but according to their coach, they are prepared to fight their way out of it.
"We have a tremendous amount of confidence in (Peyton) Brown," added Kuhn. "We're going to support him and turn this around. He's had a fine season and we are comfortable with the ball in his hands. These moments are where you find out what you're made of as a team."
Hunter Eplin, Epling, Isaac Miller, and Peyton Brown each collected one hit to lead the Skyhawks. Hunter Blain, Morrow and Mitchell notched the only hits for the away team.
Reporter Phil Perry can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @philipdperry.