Monarchs Fall in AAA Region One Game Despite Mohigans’ Missteps
MORGANTOWN – At one point Monday, Morgantown baseball coach Mark McCarty said he felt like his players had given up.
“Sometimes I’ve felt like that this season,” he said following the Mohigans’ 5-4 victory against John Marshall in the first game of the West Virginia Class AAA Region One, Section Four tournament, at Mylan Park.
There was good reason. In the span of seven innings, the Mohigans had just about every weird possible play on the diamond happen to them.
The Mohigans allowed two runs to score on an infield error and another John Marshall runner scored from second base on a wild pitch.
MHS had two runners picked off at first base.
The Mohigans were held to one run after loading the bases with no outs in the third inning.
Another MHS base runner was caught in a double play off a ball hit to right field.
And the Mohigans still found a way to win.
“We do that sometimes,” said MHS third baseman Josh Stegmaier, who drove in two runs in the fifth inning that gave his team a 4-3 lead. “We like to let people think we’re playing with our heads down.”
If the postseason is a matter of surviving, the Mohigans (17-11) did exactly that in Game 1 against John Marshall.
The Mohigans won the game in walk-off fashion in the seventh inning, when River Hames was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to score teammate Jordan Page.
That wasn’t all that weird – it was the third time Page was hit by a pitch on the day.
John Marshall had tied the game, 4-4, in the top of the seventh, when Jerreck Waldrum doubled home Trevor Hardesty. Waldrum went 2-for-3 with two doubles.
Game 2 of the sectional tournament is at 5 p.m. today, at John Marshall.
“We’ve played in so many one-run games this season,” McCarty said. “We only had one starter back from last year and to be 17-11 right now, I would have taken that at the beginning of the year.
“But, we’ve made too many mistakes, especially late in the year.”
MHS survived an early push from the Monarchs, who scored three runs in the first two innings.
Hardesty and Waldrum scored off an MHS error, and Quintin Blatt scored from second on a wild pitch the MHS catcher couldn’t locate.
“It really is about survival sometimes and that’s what we did,” Stegmaier said.
The weirdest moment of the game came in the bottom of the fourth inning.
With one out and Morgantown’s Brady Matthews on second and Hames on first, Dustin Freeman laced a double to right field that just got past the JM outfielder. Matthews held close to second to see if the ball would be caught, while Hames began running full speed.
Hames was right behind Matthews as the two approached home plate.
When the relay throw was bobbled, Hames overtook Matthews and scored first, while Blatt retrieved the ball and began to tag both MHS runners.
Hames was ruled out on the play, but Matthews’ run counted on a day when the Mohigans needed every run they could muster.
“I’m a little disappointed we weren’t more aggressive with our bats,” McCarty said. “That’s something we need to continue to work on. The bottom line is we were still fortunate enough to win. I’ll take it.”
Waldrum took the loss. He pitched the seventh in relief of Hardesty.
MHS pitcher Tyler Shorter picked up a victory with a complete-game effort.
He allowed only one earned run on seven hits and struck out nine.