GLEN DALE - Two improbable walk off victories Friday at Monarch Field put the Moundsville Post 3 American Legion baseball team in the driver's seat in the White Pool of the 2012 Edgar Martin Beast of the East Baseball Classic.
Shane Wellman, coming to bat with two out after Todd Schmidt's leadoff home run in the bottom of the eighth tied the score, unloaded with his own round-tripper on a 2-1 count to give Post 3 a 5-4 victory against the Port Clinton Post 113 Cardinals early Saturday afternoon. Like Schmidt did earlier in the inning, Wellman found a pitch in the sweet zone and he drove it well over the fence in deep left field.
During the nightcap, Moundsville trailed 5-4 entering the bottom of the seventh, then put two runners aboard with two out before Schmidt's hustle forced one error at first base and then a wild throw allowed the winning run to score in a 6-5 triumph against the 5-Tool Baseball Academy out of Brooklyn, N.Y.
Moundsville Post 3’s Jake Lucas pops up from a slide as Port Clinton shortstop Brantly Grennari fields a throw during action of their game Friday in Glen Dale. Standing to the right is Addison Respard (11).
The exciting victories gave Manager Bill Burkett's club a 3-1 record in pool play entering today's action. Moundsville has won three straight after being one-hit in the Beast opener and is tied for the top spot in the White Pool with Port Clinton. Up At Bat, the team that bested Post 3 on Thursday morning, has a 2-2 record after splitting a pair of games for the second straight day.
''These were two really good games," Burkett said. ''The kids deserve a lot of credit for coming back. We were down, down, down and they didn't give up. All I know right now is that we'll be back here playing (this) morning. We need to keep winning and see what happens.''
Not to be overlooked in the opening game victory against Port Clinton which had won its first three, was the gutty, complete-game pitching of Mitchel French.
The Cameron graduate struggled some when he gave up three early runs. After that shaky start, he blanked the Cardinals until the top of the eighth as Drew Yontz doubled, took third after a sacrifice bunt and came home when Ryan Wolfe delivered a sacrifice fly to put Port Clinton on top 4-3.
French hung tough in the scorching 100-degree temperatures as he delivered 119 pitches while walking four and stricking out just as many.
He was helped out by a couple sparkling plays in the field by a Moundsville defense that did not commit an error during either game. Tanner Hanna, playing left field, raced into the gap in the fourth inning to haul down a bid for what would have been a run-scoring extra base hit by Bradley Gennari.
In the sixth inning, second baseman Wellman ventured into right field to take a possible hit away from Wolfe, also with a runner aboard.
''Mitchell throws strikes and he did a nice job," a pleased Burkett said. ''That was a lot of pitches to throw on a hot day like this.''
Shortstop Jake Lucas also swung a key bat, lacing three singles and driving in two runs. Lucas had the hit that kept Moundsville alive with two outs in the bottom of the seventh when he blooped a single over the second baseman's head for a 3-3 tie.
Two innings earlier, Lucas had moved Post 3 to within a run when he followed base knocks by French and Jimmy Henderson with his own single. Moundsville's first run came in the third inning as Wellman doubled into left advanced to third as Mark Walker was retired on a ground ball to the right side of the infield and scored on French's sacrifice fly to center.
With Post 1 trailing 4-3 entering the bottom of the eighth, Schmidt drilled the first pitch, a belt-high fast ball, over the fence in center field. Two outs later, Wellman ended it as he also connected on a room service fast ball for the game-winner.
Moundsville 6, 5-Tool Baseball Academy 5
Both pitchers were sharp in the second game which was scoreless through the first four innings. The two starters, Moundsville's Hunter Kaschke and the 5-Tool Baseball Academy's Christopher Armenti, combined to strike out 10 and not issue a single walk. Kaschke had permitted just one hit and Armenti two entering the top of the fifth.
Kaschke began running out of gas as he walked his first batter, allowed a single to Charlie Russell and then hit Jose Cirinco with a pitch to load the bases. Berto Santiago hit into a fielder's choice allowing the game's first run to score, followed by Derrick Machado's RBI single to left field.
After another walk loaded the bases, Kaschke was replaced by Wylie Koontz but his first pitch was ripped into left-center for a two-run double by Justin Buerlein.
Moundsville bounced back to score four runs in the bottom of the fifth. Two walks, an error and Lucas' RBI single - his fourth hit of the day - cut the deficit to 4-2. Then it was the left-handed swinging John Mirandy's turn to strike a big low with his two-run shot over the fence in right field.
The 5-Tool Academy regained the lead in the sixth as Adolfo Reyes tripled on a ball that carried to the fence in center field and came home on Cirinco's sacrifice fly.
Koontz led off the bottom of the seventh for Moundsville and was plunked by a Armanti pitch. Jared Horan came on to pinch run and took second when Henderson laid down a sacrifice bunt. Horan held second as Lucas grounded out to shortstop bringing up Mirandy, who drew a five-pitch walk.
Schmidt hit what looked to be a game-ending bouncer to the right side of the infield but he hustled down the base line and dove in safely as Thomas Noreba bobbled the ball and threw late to first base. Horan scored and tying run and the winning run also was sent home when the ball was thrown out of play by first baseman Buerlein.
Moundsville had just five hits, two collected on a single and a triple by Ryan Hughes.