Wheeling Park rallies to win region
MORGANTOWN — As Game 3 of the Class AAA Region I Baseball championship entered the seventh inning Wednesday, Wheeling Park, trailing Morgantown by two runs, knew it had just one chance left to save its season.
That resilience would pay off in spades. Park rallied late, stringing together three runs in its final at-bat, to secure a 6-5 lead it would keep through the end. The victory advances the Patriots to the WVSSAC Class AAA state baseball tournament.
“I’d just like to mention the character of our players. That win was about who we are — they don’t give up. They had a tough loss (Tuesday), and they come back and battled like that. You can’t coach that or teach that, but that’s just the character of these boys,” Park coach Steve Myers said.
In the home dugout, Morgantown (29-7) was cautiously optimistic starting the final inning. After a wild game that featured five lead changes in the first six innings, the game was all but won. Starting pitcher Colton Matthews secured a quick strikeout, but a Park double and a Matthews walk put a pair of runners on base.
With just six tosses remaining before Matthews hit the maximum pitch count and was required to leave the mound, Charlie Petty entered the game to close. Park (20-9) would take advantage of the loss of rhythm at the mound for Morgantown. Nolan Mattern would convert a line-drive double to drive home two runs to tie the game and then score the winning run on an Isaac Hines sacrifice fly.
Wheeling Central 7,
Ritchie County 4
ELM GROVE — Wheeling Central coach Bo McConnaughy was disappointed with his team’s play Tuesday. That feeling emanated after his Maroon Knights dropped a one-run decision to host Ritchie County, evening their best-of-three regional series.
McConnaughy was in a much better frame of mind come Wednesday night. Central bounced back from Tuesday’s tough loss in championship fashion, dispatching the Rebels by a 7-4 count at the I-470 J.B. Chambers Complex.
The victory propels the Maroon Knights back to Charleston next week, looking to improve on last year’s state runner-up showing.
“We weren’t mentally into the game (Tuesday) night for whatever reason,” McConnaughy said while being doused by a bucket of ice from his players. “Tonight, we had a little talk in the dugout prior to the game about being ready to play. We played much better today.”
Wheeling Park 3
VIENNA — The trip to Vienna was a short-lived one for the Wheeling Park softball team.
After falling in its opener Wednesday, Wheeling Park was matched up against Washington in the loser’s bracket of the Class AAA state softball tournament at Jackson Memorial Park.
Up three runs thanks to an Ashley Linder three-run double, Wheeling Park only saw its lead slip away, as Washington scored 11 unanswered to secure an 11-3 win ending Park’s season.
Washington will play George Washington at 9 a.m. today for a chance to play in the championship game against Hurricane, which defeated Park in the opener, 8-0, followed by a 9-0 stomping of George Washington.
“It’s tough. We have a great group of girls,” Wheeling Park (13-13) coach Pat Durkin said. “This is a hard way to go out for them and a group of seniors we have, it’s going to be sad to see them go. But, we’ll be here again next year.”
VIENNA — The three-time defending champion Maroon Knights refused to go away quietly.
After a crushing loss in the state tournament opener on Wednesday to Sherman, Wheeling Central came to life in its elimination game, with a 9-3 triumph over Greenbrier West at Jackson Memorial Park.
Wheeling Central will advance to play the loser of Sherman and Clay-Battelle at 9 a.m. today in another elimination contest.
The Knights tallied just two hits in their loss and fired back with a 15-hit performance in the nightcap.
“I’m glad the girls didn’t hang their heads because let’s face it, that first game we just took an old fashioned butt whooping,” Central coach Buck Davidson said. “Not to take anything away from their pitcher but we weren’t hitting the ball the way we can in the first game.”
Sherman won the opening contest, 8-1.