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BASEBALL: Park Victorious, 12-2

Patriots have 27 runs, 25 hits in two games

March 23, 2013
By RICK THORP, Staff Writer , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

WHEELING - Temperatures might have been unseasonably frigid at the Wheeling Park baseball diamond on Friday afternoon, but the Patriots' bats remained hot.

Chase Moffett laced a double, two singles and knocked in four runs as Park rallied from an early 2-0 hole and drubbed Parkersburg, 12-2, in six innings.

With a wicked wind swirling, the Patriots (2-0) again put up double-digit runs two days after defeating University, 15-8, in Morgantown to open the season.

Article Photos

Wheeling Park’s Andrew Kowalo winds up for a pitch against Parkersburg on Friday.

For those counting at home, that's 27 runs and 25 hits in two games.

''Sometimes you get in the (batting) cage and everyone looks like an all-star,'' Patriots second-year coach Mike McLeod said. ''Then, you get outside and everyone doesn't look like one.

''We've been working on hitting a lot ... all aspects of the game, really.''

And it showed Friday.

In addition to displaying prowess at the plate, the Patriots showcased speed on the basepaths and, even with the cold weather, agility defensively, especially around the horn.

''We just wanted to get outside and play someone with a different colored uniform on and see where we're at after having to practice in the gym for so long,'' McLeod said.

''We did the things we were supposed to do.''

After spotting the Big Reds two runs in the top of the first, Park produced six in the bottom of the inning and knocked Parkersburg starting pitcher Logan Dudley out early.

Moffett (a double) and Jesse Hartley (a single), both knocked in two runs during the spurt, which also included an RBI single by Michael Grove.

''I was impressed with the way Chase hit the ball,'' McLeod said. ''We want to get to the point where there are no easy outs.''

The Patriots are closer to reaching that goal. Six players recorded hits Friday, with seven driving in runs.

Then there's junior newcomer Eric Banks. Banks, the standout receiver for Chris Daugherty's football team, is doing his best Kenny Lofton impression from the leadoff spot.

In the first inning alone, he beat out a throw to reach first, another throw to get to second and then trotted into third after a wild pitch that, for most players would've kept them at second. He doubled, singled and scored twice.

''We feel like we have a lot of team speed,''McLeod said. ''When you put the ball in play, it puts pressure on the defense because they have to field it and then throw it over.''

Trevor Stewart and Andrew Kowalo shined on the mound with Stewart earning the victory, working three innings. Kowalo arrived in the fourth and struck out seven, including the side in the sixth and six of the last seven batters he faced.

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