On the ropes: Morgantown falls in Game 1 of Region I baseball series to Wheeling Park

MORGANTOWN — Wheeling Park coach Steve Myers raved about his defense prior to Monday’s Region I series opener at Morgantown, believing that’s the reason the Patriots have gotten this far.
The team proved its coach right, saving several runs with diving stabs to help Wheeling Park hold on to a 3-2 win to take a 1-0 advantage in the best-of-3 series.
“We rely on those guys — they’re heady guys,” Myers said. “Our shortstop and second baseman are kind of interchangeable, and that was a great play Jacob made out there.”
That Jacob was shortstop Jacob Shia, who dived to his right to snare a bullet off the bat of Zach Owens in the bottom of the sixth inning with a runner at third base for the Mohigans. If the ball went through to left field, MHS (27-6) would have plated the tying run. Instead, the Patriots (19-8) ran off the field with high fives and fist pumps.
Two innings earlier, left fielder Mason Richardson dived forward to rob Preston Fox of a hit with Charlie Kerzak in scoring position.
Missed opportunities was the theme of the night for the Mohigans. Not only did the Patriots’ defense keep them off the scoreboard, base-running mistakes in critical situations and a lack of clutch hits added to the Mohigans’ struggles at the plate.
“Normally, we’re going to score more runs than that,” MHS coach Mark McCarty said. “We weren’t swinging the bat very well tonight. Hopefully, that doesn’t happen again. We just have to go out and play. If we come to play, we can beat anybody, and we can definitely beat them since we beat them twice in the regular season.
“We just did not play our game tonight.”
MHS collected just four hits and scored its only two runs in the third inning. It hasn’t scored more than five runs in seven of its last 11 games. Myers took starting pitcher Isaac Haines out after three innings and relievers Trevor Rosenthal and Trevor Thomas tossed four scoreless frames and two innings each.
“We just need to stay focused,” MHS’s Caleb Taylor said. “We let some errors get us down today but we can’t let that happen.”
Offensively for Wheeling Park, Nolan Mattern and Brock Archer drove in runs for the Patriots.
They have the momentum heading into Game 2 at 5 p.m. today at home.
“You always want to win the first game of the series, but we have to refocus and Game 2 is as big as today’s was,” Myers said.
Taylor will get the start on the mound in hopes to save the Mohigans’ season.
“I just have to go out and throw strikes and have trust in the fielders behind me,” he said.

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