WHEELING - Baseball can be an odd game at times. Take Morgantown's victory against Wheeling Park on Monday afternoon for example.
The Patriots outhit the Mohigans, 8-5, allowed runs in just one inning, as did the visitors, and allowed only one Morgantown base runner after the fourth inning.
However, in a game that Park coach Mike McLeod was not one bit happy about, and might love to have back, the Mohigans were able to hold on late to record a 4-3 victory at Patriot Field, the second against Wheeling Park in less than a week.
Photo by Tony Viola/Wheeling Park’s Michael Grove (15) awaits the ball in an attempt to tag out Morgantown’s Tyler Shorter (sliding), while Park’s Daniel Baciak looks on.
"We were beaten in every aspect of the game (Monday)," a visibly upset McLeod said. "Our kids did not want to listen and honestly, they just weren't very coachable.
"But that is my fault and it will be fixed. I can tell you that we have a group of freshmen dying to get up to varsity and get some playing time and those kids are very coachable and willing to learn.
"The final score of this game really doesn't tell you how bad they beat us. They let us back in the game late. I have nothing positive to say and I can promise you this team will put on a much better show in the future."
While the Patriots did out-hit the Mohigans, they also struggled for most of the game looking for a big hit. In all, Park left 11 runners on base, seven of those in scoring position and had the bases loaded in the fourth, but did not push across a run.
Both teams had chances early but were unable to dent the scoreboard.
After walking the first two hitters to begin the game, and having them advance to second and third on a two-out sacrifice fly, the Patriots were able to avoid any early damage with a pop-out to end the threat.
Unfortunately Wheeling Park suffered the same fate in the bottom of the frame, getting a one-out single from Eric Crow before Michael Grove reached on an error to put runners at the corners. A strike out and fly out got Morgantown starter Sloan Nesbit off the hook.
Again, both teams had chances in the third but neither took advantage. The Mohigans loaded the bases with two outs in the top of the frame, but could not manufacture a run, while the Patriots got a Grove single and stolen base, but left him at second.
Morgantown finally broke through in the fourth with some nice hitting and fine base running. Tyler Shorter walked, went to second on a wild pitch and stole third. Nesbit worked a one-out walk and with the hit-and-run on Jordan Page's infield single made it a 1-0 game.
Dakota Carr doubled home a run with another coming around on a Park error and Zane Hern made it a 4-0 count on a base hit with the runner from third breaking from home.
The Patriots missed a golden opportunity in the home-half of the inning, getting singles from Chalmer Moffett and Grove Calvert with one out and loaded the bases on an error with two down, but all three ended up stranded.
Wheeling Park didn't miss its next chance in the sixth. After two quick outs the Patriots parlayed an error, a walk and a fielder's choice on a very close play at second to fill the bases, again.
This time the big hits came as Eric Crow dropped a two-run single into right field and Grove drilled an RBI base hit into center to cut the deficit to 4-3.
Park did get a one-out double deep off the left field fence by Moffett in the bottom of the seventh, but he became the 11th Patriot base runner stranded in the game.
Nesbit went the distance on the hill for Morgantown, fanning five and walking two, while Bledsoe took the loss for the Patriots.
"Sloan did a very good job on the mound, but we didn't hit the ball very well," Morgantown's Mark McCarty said. "Wheeling Park has a class program and they are a good team and it is always nice to get a win over them, especially here.
"We were fortunate (Monday), but Sloan pounded the strike zone as he normally does and that makes it much easier to get victories. We did make a big error in that sixth inning, and had a bad umpires call, that got us in a little trouble, but we got through it."
As for McLeod, he could not stress enough how disappointed he was at his team's effort.
"I was very excited to get the field ready to play this game," he said. "But the kids just were not together one bit. Not mentally, physically or emotionally.
"We just were not ready to play, and again, I will take total responsibility for that, but it won't happen again."