WHEELING - Sweeping a second doubleheader in as many days, the Wheeling Post 1 American Legion baseball team ran its winning streak to five by knocking off visiting Wellsburg Post 34 5-2 in the first game and 8-4 in the second contest Monday night at the J.B. Chambers Memorial I-470 Sports Complex.
Coach Tom Pasco's club, after capturing a pair on the road at Bridgeport (WV) on Sunday, overcame a total of 10 errors last night in improving its overall record to 6-1.
The victory in the opening game gave Wheeling a 1-0 start in Area One play. Post 1 will try and notch another area scalp this evening against Moundsville Post 3 at 6 p.m. on the John Marshall High School diamond in Glen Dale.
''Pretty, it wasn't (Monday),'' said Pasco following a longer than usual postgame chat with his team in front of the home dugout.
''I guess it was bound to happen because we've had five solidly played ball games. Defensively we just weren't there and I don't know if it was a lack of focus or what. We don't accept play like that on this team. This is not Post 1 style of ball.''
Much credit for the opening game victory has to go to the gritty pitching effort by Parker Lang, the sophomore-to-be at Wheeling Jesuit University. Lang surrendered a couple of tainted runs in the first inning and blanked Wellsburg the rest of way. Overall, he scattered seven hits. With Post 1 committing seven errors behind him, Lang kept things from getting worse by issuing only one walk and striking out three in the complete-game effort.
''He got a little frustrated a couple of times but Parker's a tough kid,''Pasco said. ''In a short period of time he has become a leader on this team. We've been impressed with his pitching and the extra workouts he does on the side. Our kids have to step up and play better behind him.''
Although swept in the doubleheader, Coach Kurt Furolli saw positive signs from Post 34, particularly the pitching of Shane Paesano in the opener.
''He pitched well enough to win,'' Furolli said. ''I think we found another catcher (Matt Parrish) in the second game. (Justin) Porco played well defensively in the outfield and Nick Breen is always solid behind the plate.''
Paesano tossed the first five innings, allowing five hits and left trailing 3-2. Relief hurler Kyle Wales struggled with his control, walking four and hitting a batter during his one-inning stint on the mound. Alex Stephens drew a free pass to force in one of run and another tally was put up on the scoreboard as Scott Castilow picked up his second RBI by banging into a fielder's choice.
Two Wheeling errors, Breen's single and Wales' sharply hit grounder into right field for an RBI base knock gave Wellsburg the early 2-0 advantage.
Blanked during the first two innings by Paesano, who stranded three Wheeling runners, Post 1 finally broke through with single runs in the third, fourth and fifth innings.
In the bottom of the third, two Post 34 errors preceded a sacrifice fly to centerfield off the bat of Castilow, chased home Wheeling's first run.
With one out in the bottom of the fourth, Andrew Kowalo doubled and later scored on Jon-Michael Brunner's single to right field, tying the score at 2-2. After the first two Wheeling batters had been retired in the fifth inning, Tim Mirandy coaxed a walk off Paesano and sprinted to third on Corey Walter's single to right. Paesano then was charged with a balk, scoring Mirandy with what proved to be the winning run.
Wellsburg's offense included Porco's double, two singles by Breen and a pair of hits from Chris Perna.
Wheeling 8, Wellsburg 4
After managing just one double and four singles in the first game, Post 1 unloaded for 13 hits to complete the sweep. Dylan Williams singled three times, while Stephens had two hits and two RBIs, Brunner knocked in a run with a double down the left field line, Patrick Biega had two singles and an RBI, while Jack Weishar and Kowalo contributed with RBI singles.
Kowalo got the victory, although he surrendered four runs in the fifth inning before being replaced on the mound by Brunner. Before the inning end, Matt Carnahan was brought in to pitch and he shut down the Wellsburg offense during the final two and one-third innings, getting credit for a save.
Trailing 5-0 entering the fifth frame, Wellsburg got back into the game when Porco slammed a two-run homer over the fence in left field and incoming Brooke High freshman Heath Hildreth roped a two-run double into left field.
Brunner's double in the first inning scored Ethan Jacobs, who had walked and moved up on Williams' single. Post 1 struck for three runs in the second inning, the key hit being the Stephens line two-run base knock into center field.