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BASEBALL: JM Halts Magnolia Winning Streak

Pair of Monarchs plate four runs

April 29, 2013
By TRACY WATSON , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

NEW MARTINSVILLE - It didn't come with a whole lot of fanfare or even mention. However, Monday afternoon's baseball game at the George S. Mullett Baseball Complex could not have come with much more history than it did.

John Marshall's visit to Magnolia was more than just a baseball game, it was the first time in Ohio Valley, or West Virginia history that two high school coaches, each with more than 800 victories, stared at each other from across the dugouts in the Monarchs' Bob Montgomery and the Blue Eagles' Dave Cisar.

At the same time it, was also one heck of a baseball game the two veteran mentors were treated to.

Shane Wellman tossed a six-hitter, fanning six and walking five, while Zach Winland and Jeremiah Fromhart each collected four RBI, as John Marshall stunned Magnolia by a 10-5 count, ending the Blue Eagles' 19-game winning streak and spoiling their Senior Night festivities as well.

It was an interesting game in that Cisar's squad (23-2) had hits in its first two at-bats in the first, but did not get another until there were two outs in the seventh. Magnolia was also the recipient of five walks and five John Marshall errors that it struggled to take advantage of.

Meanwhile, Montgomery's club (13-10) did a better job pushing across runs and making the five walks and four hit batters it received count.

"Any time you can stop a streak at any time, any level and in any sport, it is a nice accomplishment for your team," Montgomery said. "It was real good to watch us go out and compete like that (Monday), we have let some slip through our hands this season."

John Marshall got things started in the first with a one-out walk to Mitch Whorton followed by Wellman's double into the right-center field gap. Winland then laced a two-run base hit to center for a quick 2-0 lead.

But Magnolia got it right back in the bottom of the frame with leadoff singles by Ryan Walton and Chandler Sapp before Zach WIlhoite reached on a one-out error allowing Walton to score. Sapp was initially ruled out at third, however, on appeal was called safe on a dropped ball.

Tanner Hanna's run-producing, two-out, fielder's choice knotted the count at 2-2.

Sapp became his own worst enemy on the mound in the third, walking a pair and hitting another to load the bases with nobody out before giving the ball up to Hanna. The Monarchs managed a pair in the frame on Winland's sacrifice fly and Jeremiah Fromhart's RBI single for a 4-2 edge.

Magnolia watched a golden opportunity go by the board in the third, putting runners at second and third on an error, walk and stolen base with two down, but an appealed third strike call ended the threat.

Things didn't get much better for the Blue Eagles on the hill in the fourth when John Marshall again loaded the bases, and again thanks in large part to Magnolia pitching problems. However, a pair of walks, two more hit batters and Matt Filben's run-scoring double led to ony two tallies and a 6-2 advantage for the visitors.

Filben, JM's No. 9 hitter, added to the lead in the fifth with a two-out home run to left and a 7-2 margin before Fromhart ripped a three-run bomb an inning later for an eight-run advantage.

Magnolia did come to life in the bottom of the seventh, but it wasn't nearly enough. With two down, Kyle Elliott ripped an RBI double before Wilhoit blasted a two-run homer to deep right-center to make it 10-5. The Eagles eventually loaded the bases, but the inning ended just as it started - with a strikeout.

"That is a solid senior laden baseball team," Cisar said of John Marshall. "Give them all the credit in the world. But I am really proud of how we came out and played the last three or four innings of the game. We struggled at the plate, but we still didn't give up and showed signs of life late..

"It is a loss that taints the 19-game winning streak, but there are good losses and bad losses and this really isn't that bad. I will take what we have done this season with a young team, but we got our butts kicked (Monday).

"We faced a very good pitcher that was real sharp, especially with his curve when he was ahead in the count. He showed a lot of confidence on the mound."

Montgomery was very happy with Wellman's performance.

"Shane did a very nice job and he fought out there on the mound," Montgomery said. "This was two teams playing hard with two coaches that have been blessed with an awful lot of good players through the years. We had a tough loss to Wheeling Park last Monday, but we have a couple of regulars back now.

"I am just very happy with this performance. I also have to mention Jeremiah Fromhart who has been hitting a ton for us recently, and that continued (Monday)."

The two close friends also enjoyed their time together Monday, as they always do on the diamond.

"You know Marshall County, West Virginia can be very proud of the two little guys with the big accomplishments who coached here (Monday)," Montgomery added. "We have been doing this for over 40 years and have been either coaching or playing with or against each other since we were 8 years old.

"I really believe what took place here (Monday) is a rarity, not just in the Ohio Valley or the state, but in the entire United States."

"You know it is always nice to get together with him and talk," Cisar said. "Usually the first thing we talk about are the (Pittsburgh) Penguins and then maybe about who we have played or will play, but it is always very nice. And this was a great crowd and a very good, clean high school baseball game that I was very proud to be involved in."

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