The Wildcats scored one run each in the fourth and fifth innings to take a 1-0 lead in the series and put themselves one game away from winning their first state baseball title since 1975 as well as the school’s 10th state crown during the spring season and 12th in the 2012-13 school year.
Game two and a possible third contest were scheduled for Monday. Results were not available at press time.
Rankin Woley singled to score Jake Johnson in the bottom of the fifth to provide the winning margin for Westminster.
Hays Meyer gave up six hits and struck out four hitters to take the complete-game win on the mound for the Wildcats. Mitch Stallings also threw a six-hitter and went the distance for Lovett.
“This ballgame was not a surprise in any way,” Westminster coach Russell Wrenn said. “With the two guys who were pitching, we knew it was going to be a low-scoring ballgame and both teams were terrific defensively. We had to battle for everything against Stallings — he was phenomenal.”
Westminster got on the scoreboard first when Merritt Huber singled to score McClain Bradley in the bottom of the fourth and give the Wildcats a 1-0 lead.
Lovett responded with a run of its own in the top of the fifth when a single by Mitchell Marino scored pinch runner James Topping — who was running for Nick Boden — to even the game at 1-all. However, the Wildcats came back with Woley’s RBI single in the bottom of the fifth to regain the lead for good.
“We talked about it more than likely going to be a low-scoring game, more than likely being a one-run game, being a pitcher’s duel,” Lovett coach Lance Oubs said. “We had two really good guys on the mound going at it. I told my guys it’s not the way we wanted it to end, but it is what it is and we’ve got to try to push this thing to game three.”
Bradley and Connor Stutts were both 2-for-3 to lead the way for Westminster at the plate.
Sean Reagan and Brant Wells were also 2-for-3 for Lovett.
Westminster, which was undefeated in the state playoffs going into Monday’s game two, advanced to the AA finals with a two-game sweep of Pepperell in the semifinals — winning the first game 1-0 behind Meyer’s no-hitter last Monday and the second contest 5-1 last Tuesday.
Lovett went the full three games of their semifinal series to beat Benedictine — winning the first game 11-0 and losing game two 6-3 last Tuesday, before taking the third and deciding contest 12-1 last Wednesday.
Marist began its best-of-three Class AAAA championship series with DeKalb County and Region 6AAAA rival Redan at home Monday. Results were not available at press time.
The War Eagles advanced with a two-game semifinal sweep of Crisp County last Monday, winning 6-3 in the opening game and 2-1 in the second contest.