Big Innings Spearhead Wheeling Domination

Alumni Day Set for Today At J.B. Chambers Complex

Photo by Cody Tomer. Wheeling’s Butter Murray steps on third for a force out and throws to first to complete a double play Saturday at the J.B. Chambers Complex.

WHEELING — The key to success this season for Wheeling Post 1 has been the big inning.

On Saturday, the big innings were frequent as Wheeling swept a doubleheader from visiting Preston Post 56 by scores of 10-1 and 18-0 at the J.B. Chambers Complex.

Post 1 batted around once in both games and pushed six runs across the plate during the second inning of the opener. In the nightcap, Wheeling recorded five runs in the second, seven in the third and five more in the fourth to earn the five-inning, mercy-rule victory.

Wheeling garnered eight hits in Game 1 and smacked 16 more in Game 2, while taking advantage of a total of 13 Preston errors on the day.

“Hitting is contagious when we start hitting line drives,” Wheeling manager Mark Delbrugge said. “Anybody in our lineup can hit the ball. We didn’t hit the ball (Friday) very well but (Saturday) we snapped out of it. Hopefully, we can get on a roll now. We are getting into the middle of the season so we need to start hitting the ball consistently in key situations.”

Post 1 had no problem doing that Saturday as Isaac Rine, Gage Giovengo and Butter Murray all knocked in runs in the six-run second of the opener. Post 56’s defense also committed three errors in the frame to provide Wheeling with extra outs.

Jarrett Delbrugge and Chad Harper did their part in the third as Delbrugge laced a RBI single to plate Vic Giovengo and Harper belted a two-run double to deep centerfield to extend the lead to 9-0.

In the fifth, Preston jumped on the board with a run when Byron Brandt singled and scored when Ethan Haskiell was caught in a run down between first and second for the squad’s only run of the contest.

Harper gave Wheeling one more run in the sixth when he reached on an error, stole second and then took advantage of a pair of Post 56 errors and did not stop running until he crossed home.

Ross Salvatori led the charge with two singles and a double, Delbrugge turned in a pair of hits and Vic Giovengo supplied three walks in the win.

Frankie Favede claimed the win on the hill for Post 1 with 11 strikeouts, only one walk and four hits allowed.

Wheeling has been playing without a trio of stars who have been out of town but they were all back in the dugout on Saturday.

First team all-stater Tyler Riedel, second team all-state captain Rine and second teamer Jub Delbrugge made their return to the potent lineup.

“Everybody is back now,” Mark Delbrugge said. “We need them. We are on a grind now with a double header (today), and games Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Jub will pitch (today) for us.”

Riedel quickly made his presence felt in the nightcap as he struck out three in three innings pitched before Zach Hickman slammed the door with two innings and one punch out. The combination held Post 56 to just one hit.

Hits for Wheeling came quite often in the second game as Murray struck for four hits and four RBI to lead the two-time defending state champions by collecting a pair of two-run singles.

Riedel also made an impact at the plate with three hits and two RBI, while Rine returned with a bang. The catcher drilled a single and a double for three RBI.

Jarrett Delbrugge knocked in two runs on a single and a triple and Gage Giovengo supplied two hits.

Harper, Jacob Shia and Vic Giovengo all plated one run each for Post 1 in the game 2 victory.

Post 1 hosts Parkersburg today for a double header at I-470 for Alumni Day. All Wheeling Legion alumni will be welcomed back for a ceremony and the 2015-16 state championship teams will be honored, as well.

“(Today) is going to be a really special day for our organization,” Mark Delbrugge said. “We will, hopefully, get a lot of alumni back and guys who haven’t been back in a while will get to see our team. We are getting some tradition back and there will be a lot going on so it will be a good day for the alumni and, hopefully, we can put on a good performance.”