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Cloxton, Nitro win Class AAA championship PDF Print E-mail
Written by The Associated Press   
Monday, 05 March 2012 18:11

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Zach Cloxton figured the best way to stop his streak of outs at the plate was to hit the ball where there weren't any opposing fielders.
That meant over the right field wall.

Cloxton homered twice and drove in five runs to lead Nitro to a 6-0 win over Bridgeport on Saturday night, giving the Wildcats' their second Class AAA championship in three seasons.

Cloxton's single to lead off the game broke a streak of nine consecutive at-bats without a hit.

His night only got better.

"Last night I actually felt like I was hitting the ball well, just hitting it right at them," said Cloxton, who transferred to Nitro from Winfield a year ago. "I was just like 'I don't know what to do' because wherever I hit it, there's a guy right there. I figured if I hit one over the fence, they wouldn't be able to catch it."

Cloxton hit a 1-0 pitch with two out in the second inning for his fifth homer of the season off Bridgeport starter Brady Weaver. It came after Clay Riggleman reached base on an infield error and Daniel Ramsey walked.

Cloxton did it again in the fourth. After Ramsey walked, Cloxton hit the first pitch over the wall in right-center. The ball bounced back onto the field but the first-base umpire rule it a home run.
It gave Nitro (33-4) a 5-0 lead and marked the second time a Nitro player had homered twice in the championship game. Two years ago, Andrew Pickering did it in a 10-0 win over Fairmont Senior.

In the sixth inning, Cloxton was intentionally walked to load the bases with one out. Tyler Godbey followed with a sacrifice fly to complete the scoring.

Bridgeport (24-13) was trying for its first title since winning in Class AA in 2000. The Indians, who had beaten Fairmont Senior 5-0 in the semifinals, managed just two hits off Nitro starter J.R. Bradley and Riggleman.

Bridgeport stranded seven runners and put just one runner past second base.

"We didn't hit the ball on the ground a lot to force many plays," said Bridgeport coach Robert Shields. "I knew it was going to take six or seven runs to win this ball game."

It was retribution for Bradley, whose error at shortstop with the bases loaded in the seventh inning of last year's title game allowed the winning run to score for Martinsburg.

Bradley, a member of the 2008 championship team, struck out seven and walked two in six innings Saturday.

"I think it was more special this year because I think we really had to strap up and play," Bradley said. "Two years ago, it was just a different team. It was a team that doesn't come around too often. This year our road to get there was a little tougher. We had to put more together. The chemistry our team has is just unbelievable this year and I'm really glad I was a part of it."

Last Updated on Monday, 05 March 2012 19:12
 

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