Caleb Taylor throws no-no as Morgantown forces a Game 3 in regional

WHEELING – Morgantown baseball coach Mark McCarty made it clear after Monday’s Game 1 of the Region I championship series against Wheeling Park – his team needed to hit or else its season was over.
In the 3-2 loss, not only did the Mohigans struggle to collect clutch hits with runners on, but the Patriots made outstanding plays in the field to hold MHS at bay.
In Game 2 on Wednesday at Wheeling Park, the Mohigans answered their coach’s call. They collected eight hits and showed patience at the plate, adding 11 walks to the tally in a 14-0 blowout.
The win forced a decisive Game 3 at 5 p.m. today at Mylan Park, with the winner headed to the state tournament in Charleston.
Not only did the Mohigans’ bats wake up, but senior Caleb Taylor tossed five no-hit innings, as the mercy rule was put into effect.
“They came to play today – that’s a way we’ve played a lot of the year and we feel good, we really feel good about that one,” McCarty said. “Got a no-hitter, played good defense, it was just a good baseball game for us.”
MHS (28-6) wasted no time getting its offense started. Wheeling Park (19-9) starter Dylan Gongola walked four of the first five hitters he faced as he struggled with command. Once he finally got the ball in the strike zone, the Mohigans offense took advantage.
Charlie Kerzak smacked a single into left field to score two runs, followed by a sac fly by Gavin Cottle, then a single by Zach Brennan. Once the top of the 1st was finished, MHS held a 5-0 lead.
That’s when Taylor went to work on the mound.
“We scored five in the first inning and I was really happy about that,” he said. “Pitching with the lead is what I like to do.”
Taylor was frustrated with the four walks he allowed, but none came back to hurt him. Trying to pitch to contact, he had the Patriots off balance all night, drawing weak contact.
Taylor still finished with five strikeouts.
“Caleb has pitched for us ever since he was a sophomore,” McCarty said. “He was actually our closer and did a great job, so we trust him in these stressful situations. It’s definitely nice to have someone like that and I feel good about our pitching depth right now.”
McCarty will go with another senior on the mound today in the do-or-die Game 3 in Colton Matthews.
In 49 innings (eight starts) this season, Matthews is 6-2 a 2.57 ERA.
He pitched two innings of relief against Wheeling Park on April 24, giving up just one hit and keeping the Patriots off the scoreboard.
Wheeling Park will counter with a senior of its own in Ryan Hummel, who threw 31 innings (six starts), going 3-3 with an ERA of 2.26. He did not face the Mohigans this season.
With a win today, MHS will reach its first state tournament since 2017. Prior to that, the last time the Mohigans made it to states was 1976.
Wheeling Park was the state runner-up a season ago before losing to Hurricane.

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