WELLSTON — Wellston couldn’t have asked for a better start to its postseason. 

It hit the ball well, fielded the ball, made the routine plays and only made one tiny mistake defensively that didn’t cost it anything. 

But all eyes were on Zach Wilbur as he took the mound for the final time at home and left a lasting memory. 

The senior hurler fired a no-hitter and struck out 11 batters as the Golden Rockets earned a 7-0 victory over Coal Grove in a Division III sectional semifinal on Monday. 

“I’ve been struggling on the mound for the past couple of weeks, but I was more focused tonight about hitting my spots,” Wilbur said. “I just wanted to play the best I can for my team and get as many ground balls as I could since I knew my defense was going to back me up.”

While Wilbur blew fastballs by the Hornets, Will Briggs provided plenty of run insurance to support his pitcher. 

The first baseman always came through when his team needed and finished 2-for-4 with four RBIs, including a two-run moonshot over the left field fence. 

“I had a 2-0 count and tried to hit that pitch a mile, but fouled it off,” Briggs said. “So, the very next pitch was pretty much the same, but I was just going for contact instead of power. I got a good swing on it, barreled it up and finally got one over the fence.” 

Wellston squandered an early opportunity with the bases loaded in the bottom of the second but striking out looking the threat. 

However, it didn’t waste a second chance in the third. Logan Martin stepped up and ripped an RBI triple to right center field and scored on an RBI groundout by Briggs to take a 2-0 lead. 

“I was a little concerned about us having the weekend off and possibly getting out of rhythm,” Wellston coach Morgan Stevens said. “We hit the ball solid early and finally broke through in the third with Logan’s triple. That got us going and we continued to play solid defense while Zach pitched an unbelievable game on the mound.” 

Coal Grove shot itself in the foot and committed a throwing error to plate a Wellston runner for a 3-0 advantage in the fourth. 

Then Briggs delivered the ultimate knockout punch in the bottom of the fifth with his two-run shot to push the game up to 5-0. Martin delivered an RBI single and scored on a groundout from Briggs before Wilbur iced the game on the mound for the win. 

“Me and Jeremiah (Frisby) talked before the game about us being seniors and how we don’t want our high school athletic careers to end, especially on our home field,” Wilbur said. “We can’t take anyone lightly, and the records are thrown out come tournament time. Seeds don’t matter either. It’s just one game, win or go home, so we’re not taking anyone lightly.” 

After Wilbur and Briggs, Martin finished 3-for-4 with a triple and two RBIs. 

Wellston returns to action on Thursday in a Division III sectional final at home against Piketon, who defeated North Adams 12-5 to advance. 

The Redstreaks own a head-to-head victory over the Golden Rockets, beating them 5-0 back on March 31. However, this Golden Rocket team is much different, and they’re looking forward to defending their home turf for a shot at districts. 

“We know that we don’t start fast like some other teams, and put up eight runs early,” Wilbur said. “We just have to take our time and remember to not get frustrated. We’ll get our runs whenever they come.”