WEIRTON - Facing elimination from the West Virginia Area One American Legion Tournament, and the end to its season, Moundsville Post 3 scratched, clawed took advantage of everything St. Marys Post 79 offered them Thursday afternoon at Bowman Field.
In the end it all resulted in a wacky, marathon 15-4 victory for Manager Bill Burkett's squad and at least one more game.
Post 3 returns to Bowman Field this afternoon at 1 p.m. to take on Weirton Post 10, which fell to Wheeling Post 1 in a winner's bracket game last night. The winner of that contest will battle Wheeling today at 4:30 p.m., but will have to defeat Post 1 then and again on Saturday to win the tournament.
Thursday's victory was a little more than unusual with Moundsville banging out 13 hits, all but one a single, and pretty much playing station-to-station baseball for most of the afternoon.
Along with the 13 hits came 13 walks, three Post 79 errors and a hit batter. Post 3 actually loaded the bases during five of the six innings that it batted, leaving them full in each of their final four trips to the plate.
To make things even more crazy St. Marys twice left them loaded.
The two big innings for the Marshall County squad were the first and sixth, when they combined to plate 13 of their 15 runs. Moundsville's first seven batters reached base in the opening frame on five singles, a walk and an error that led to a quick 6-0 lead.
Phillip Smith, who led off the frame with a base hit, had a big hit with a two-run single on his second trip to the dish in the frame.
A pair of errors in the third helped push the margin to 7-0 before Post 79 finally got on the board on Matt Houser's two-run shot over the right field fence to make it a 7-2 count in the fourth.
Joe Myers worked a bases loaded walk in the fifth for Moundsville's eighth run, which came after Paden City sophomore-to-be Hayden Hizer blasted a solo shot to deep center in the top of the frame.
St. Marys cut it to 8-4 in the top of the sixth on a bases loaded walk to catcher Johnny Riggs before Post 3 exploded in the bottom of the inning.
Moundsville used just two hits, seven walks and another Post 79 miscue to push across seven more runs. Along with four bases loaded walks, Shane Wellman chased home a run with a base hit and Hunter Kaschke provided the team's only extra-base hit with a two-run double to make it 15-4.
Myers, who recorded the final out in the sixth, struck out the side in order in the top of the seventh to secure the win.
"It was a strange game, but we hit the ball well early, took advantage of some things, got some big outs on defense and advanced, that is all that is important," Burkett said.
"The only problem I have is that we just dont have that killer instinct. We got six hits and six runs in the first inning and had many chances to put them away in the middle innings, but couldn't get a big hit.
"I guess we will be back here (Friday) and see what happens."
Schuyler Callahan picked up a win in relief, pitching part of the fifth and into the sixth while St. Marys' Tyler Davis took the loss. In all, three Moundsville pitchers recorded 10 strikeouts and walked six while allowing seven hits.
Wellman finished the contest with three singles, while Smith chased home three runs for the winners.