For Indian Valley, its 23rd consecutive win breaks a two-year regional final losing streak, sending coach Shannon McComb to his first state tournament berth as player or coach.
For Wheelersburg, the loss was a less-than-memorable bookend for the stellar careers of its seniors.
The Pirates fell behind the Braves early on, trailing by as much as 8-0 after four innings.
As has been the case all season, however, Wheelersburg would not go down without a fight.
Brandon Hall led off the fifth inning with a walk and Nathan Thomas followed that with a double. The next batter grounded out before Caleb Leach drew as walk as well to load the bases.
A Nick Kemper sacrifice fly scored one and a single by Andrew Elliott scored another run but that was all the Pirates would get.
"We were just trying to fight at that point," Wheelersburg head coach Michael Estep said."I told (the team) that I thought... we started to press a little bit, first pitch swinging. I told them, 'Hey, we're going to take a strike and make them work a little bit.' It worked out for us. We got some base runners and things and at least put a little bit of pressure on them."
Wheelersburg eliminated Indian Valley last season in regional play by a score of 2-1 in a defensive contest, but Friday the Braves' Andy Allensworth capped off the bottom of a four-run fifth inning with a walk-off RBI single to end the game.
"There are different days in baseball," Estep said. "Sometimes you play in a tight regional game just as our semifinal game with (Indian Valley) was last year. Then you can wake up the next day and the team comes out and hits it all over the place. That's what happened today and that's baseball."
For the Pirates’ four-year seniors, they won at least a share of four SOC titles and made runs in the postseason every year.
"When you look at what they've done from the conference up; (They won) four straight SOC championships, three district championships, three regional appearances and a final four appearance," Estep said. "I think that most kids that walk out of high school don't quite have the resume that these guys packed in."
The Pirates' seniors include Bryan White, Aaron Hopper, Zach Brown, Justin Boyer, Matt Montavon, Brandon Dyer, Robbie Feeman and Thomas.
"All eight of them," Estep added. "They meant a tremendous deal and they set a good tone for our underclassmen coming back next year."
JOHN STEGEMAN can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Wheelersburg 000 02 — 2 5 1
Indian Valley 250 14 — 12 13 0
WP: Iacobucci LP: Bry. Hall
Wheelersburg —Thomas 2-2, Elliott 2-3 RBI, Hopper 1-3.
Indian Valley — Gray 2-3, Hall 3-4, Cozart 2-4, Baker 2-4.
Records — Indian Valley 25-2; Wheelersburg 25-4