STEUBENVILLE - There will be no state championship trophy for Jay Cartwright and his Linsly Cadets. Then again, there never is.
Wheeling's historic private school has an ongoing tradition producing talented athletic teams. Add Linsly's 2012 baseball combine to that list.
The Orange & Black scored early and often in Friday evening's OVAC 2-A title game against Steubenville Central.
LINSLY’S Leighton Gibson is congratulated by Cadets’ head coach Jay Cartwright after connecting on a three-run home run in the second inning of the OVAC?Class 2A title game Friday afternoon.
Cartwright's club recorded a first inning four-spot, then returned for three more tallies in the second which proved more than enough.
Starter Momo Felt and reliever Jimmy Brinsky combined on a six-hitter in the Cadets' 7-2 victory under sunny skies and chilly temperatures at Vaccaro Field.
One year after failing to qualify for OVAC play, Linsly returned to prominence, improving its spring mark to 19-5.
"We have 13 seniors on this year's team. They remember the feeling of (not making it here) last season," Cartwright related.
"Obviously, we'll lose a quality group, but as coaches, we'll look forward to the challenge of building a new team next year."
Felt, a valley transfer after playing abroad in Germany last year, issued a pair of first inning walks but escaped when his teammates turned a 4-6-3 double play.
The Cadets then sent nine hitters to the plate to take charge.
Centerfielder Hayden Stanley drew a one-out walk from Central starter Stephen Mihalyo. Shortstop Alex Stephens followed, lining a run-scoring triple to the centerfield fence.
First baseman Leighton Gibson's ground ball scored Stephens before leftfielder Michael Joseph and catcher Neal Tennant hit successive singles.
That brought on designated hitter Ryan Riethmiller who sent an opposite field drive soaring over the head of Crusader rightfielder Alex Porreca. Two runs scored and it was 4-0.
In the Cadets' second, Stanley and Stephens opened the frame with back-to-back base knocks. Gibson then sent a Mihalyo offering well over the fence in right for a 7-0 lighting. The Soldiers, however, would not tally again.
"It's always nice jumping ahead like that.," Cartwright explained. "Give their kid (Mihalyo) credit. He settled in and kept us off balance the rest of the way."
Felt did not allow a hit through four innings before Central bunched three fifth-inning singles to get on the board.
Adam Lyons, Brannt Pieniazek and BJ Grandinetti connected with the latter's infield hit plating Lyons.
Linsly's lead was 7-1 entering the seventh when reliever Jimmy Brinsky yielded a two-out ribbie single to Crusader cleanup hitter Jimmy Panella. A game-ending ground ball followed and the Cadets dugout emptied in celebration.
"This is a great group of guys to be around," Cartwright offered. "We had a good combination of pitching and played solid defensively.
In the Crusader fourth, Cadets' freshman second baseman Colton Coss made a diving stop to start a spectacular 4-6-3 twin-killing. "You just don't see plays like that made at the high school level," Cartwright smiled.
Felt fanned five, walked three and hit two batters. Mihalyo and reliever Porreca totaled four Ks and three walks.
Stephens collected three of the winners' 11 hits. Tennant singled and doubled. Gibson totaled four RBIs. Panella produced two singles for Central.
S. Central 000 010 1 - 2 6 2
Linsly 430 000 x - 7 11 2
Batteries: Mihalyo, Porreca (5) and Laukert. Felt, Brinsky (6) and Tennant.
Gibson may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org