Quintin Smith homers twice as Morgantown advances past Buckhannon-Upshur

MORGANTOWN — The weather was near perfect for Tuesday’s winner’s bracket sectional tournament baseball game between Buckhannon-Upshur and Morgantown at Mylan Park.
And the powerhouse No. 3 Mohigans, led by the pitching of Carter Patrick, the hot bat of shortstop Quintin Smith, continued their sweet season of success with a dominating 9-0 win.
The Bucs (13-16-1) threatened to dent the scoreboard first in the second inning when Andrew Herron laced a single to right. But right fielder Ethan Smith had other ideas, scooping deftly and firing the ball to cut down the runner trying to score from second to end the inning. And given that boost, the deep Morgantown (25-5) lineup went to work.
Singles from Colton Matthews, Charlie Kerzak, and Ethan Smith produced a run, Preston Fox’s RBI grounder forced in another. That turned the order over to shortstop Smith, who promptly parked a 1-1 letter-high fastball deep over the centerfield fence for a two-run homer and a 4-0 MHS lead.
The Mohigans extended the advantage to 5-0 in the third on Kerzak’s sacrifice fly. Meanwhile, after cruising through the first three innings facing just one over the minimum, lefty Patrick ran into a jam in the fourth when a single and a walk brought B-U slugger Casey Hamner to the plate. Fresh off a long double and longer home run off another lefty in Monday’s 11-5 win against University, Hamner was looking to close the gap with one swing, but Patrick squelched the threat with a big strikeout.
Patrick created his own crisis in the fifth, when a leadoff single and a wild pick-off throw left the runner at third with no outs, but a pop out to short right and a pair of clutch strikeouts preserved the shutout.
“I was pretty upset with myself for throwing that pickoff away,” Patrick said. “So I just tried to bear down, concentrate, hit my spots, and make really good pitches and get myself out of it.”
In the sixth, after the gritty Bailey was relieved with two on, it was Quintin Smith’s time to turn on another high fastball from the reliever on an 0-2 count, crushing it well out to left for a three-run homer to put the game out of reach. Patrick’s subsequent double and Caleb Taylor’s RBI single closed out the scoring, and Patrick closed out the five-hit, complete game win with his sixth strikeout.
Smith liked the way his teammates played in the field, and credits a recent three-game losing streak at the end of April for motivation.
“Those three losses really got out attention,” he said. “It fired us up, really got us going and has us focused going into the postseason. We’re playing with a lot of intensity and a lot of confidence, and it showed tonight.”
MHS coach Mark McCarty’s team has been swinging a hot bat all season long, such that nine runs was “about four or five below what we’ve been averaging,” he said. “But when you have good defense and very good pitching, and you hit enough, you should win a lot of games. It was a pretty solid effort for us all around tonight.”

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