GLEN DALE - For five innings Thursday morning the Mid-Atlantic Bayhawks played with fire, but managed to get outs when they needed them the most to stay ahead of Moundsville Post 3.
In the sixth inning the Bayhawks were not as fortunate and ended up getting burned.
Moundsville used three walks, two hits and an error in the bottom of the sixth to plate three runs, including Philip Smith's two-out, walk-off base hit to right field, as Post 3 rallied for an improbable 4-3 triumph against Mid-Atlantic in the opening game of the 2014 Beast of the East Tournament at John Marshall High School.
"I honestly didn't know if we even had a chance, but the kids stuck with it and pulled it out," manager Bill Burkett said with a smile. He was even happier later after Mark Walker's pitching performance in a 4-2 victory against Base A Ball to improve to 2-0.
After squandering a big opportunity in the second inning and allowing a couple of runs that Burkett was not happy about, Post 3 took advantage of some Bayhawks mistakes to pull it out in the end.
Trailing 3-0, Moundsville got on the board in the home half of the fifth on a two-out error, Smith's first single, and another error to trim the margin to 3-1.
A quick out to begin the bottom of the sixth had Post 3 down to its final two outs before Alex Riedel singled and Dillon McDonald's possible double-play ball was booted at second to put two on.
Schuyler Callihan coaxed a nine-pitch walk to load the bases before Riedel raced home on a wild pitch to cut the deficit to 3-2. Pinch-hitter Andrew Rush was intentionally walked to load the bases again just ahead of a strikeout that left Moundsville down to its final out.
But starting, and losing, pitcher Jake Henderson, who had trouble finding the plate all game, lost pinch-hitter Cole Clutter on another 3-2 pitch, forcing in the tying run.
After looking at a ball on the first pitch, Smith then lined a base hit to right, plating Callihan and setting off a Post 3 celebration.
"We had a chance to get some runs with the bases loaded in the second and didn't do it," Burkett said. "But we took advantage of some things and didn't let the opportunity get past us again in the sixth.
"I don't think they should have scored a couple of the runs they did, but the kids battled back and they didn't hurt us in the end.''
Following a quick first inning, the Bayhawks came to life with one down in the second. Zack DeCarlo ripped a double into the left-center field gap before taking third on Sean Bacchus' infield grounder that turned into an error.
Josh Roberson's drive to left was just out of the reach of Andrew Cunningham and resulted in a two-run double and an early Mid-Atlantic upperhand.
Post 3 had an opportunity to do a little damage in the bottom of the frame, and following a 48-minute rain delay, however, they could not take advantage of an error and two walks and left the bases loaded.
Mid-Atlantic added a run in the top of the fifth on a single, fielder's choice, sacrifice bunt and sacrifice fly.
Both teams finished with four hits, with Moundsville not getting its first until Walker's leadoff single in the fourth.
Joe Myers pitched a very efficient game for Post 3, fanning a pair while not issuing a walk. Myers finished throwing just 81 pitches and never faced more than five hitters in any inning in picking a the victory.
Henderson, meanwhile, struck out eight, but walked five and threw 111 pitches, including 63 strikes and 48 balls.
"Myers did a good job on the mound and was able to keep us close enough that we could get something done in the end," Burkett added.