By John Lowe, For the Dominion Post
Freshman pitcher Casey Smith pitched his first complete game as the University High baseball team cruised past Morgantown, 7-0, on April 23, at Mylan Park.
Smith dueled eight strikeouts and allowed only three hits in the Hawk (12-6) rout.
“Casey was fantastic,” UHS head coach Donovan “Buck” Riggleman said. “This is his third game starting, but obviously this is the biggest one for him because it’s the cross-town rival. I’m telling you what, the heart that he shows and the compassion for the game is just incredible.”
Smith was a significant contributor from the plate as well, netting three singles in four at-bats while picking up 2 RBIs.
“I wasn’t really expecting that much,” Smith said. “It was a good day.”
At-bat, both teams struggled until the third inning. Preston Fox and Quintin Smith both rattles off singles in the first for Morgantown (11-7) and Trevor Barnhart singled in the second for the Hawks.
Austin Forbes cracked the scoreless streak for University, smashing a home run to left field to put his team on the board, 1-0. Two at-bats later, Cameron Stoldt singled then stole second base to go into scoring position. Barnhart was walked in the next at-bat.
With runners on first and second, Clay Maholic singled to left field and advanced to second on a fielding error by MHS, bringing home Stoldt. Casey Smith and Chandler Watts both singled to bring home Barnhart and Maholic to give University a 4-0 lead after four innings.
After a 1-2-3 inning for the Mohigans, the Hawk bats went back to work. Austin Forbes reached on a fielding error by Morgantown’s Gavin Cottle, then Ross Mulhall hit a home run to center field to give UHS a 6-0 lead.
Later in the fifth inning, Barnhart would double to left field and Casey Smith would bring him home two at-bats later with another RBI single.
Morgantown would make a rally attempt in the bottom of the fifth, but came up short. Jamar Neal doubled to lead off the inning for MHS and Colton Matthews reached on a walk in the next inning with no one out.
Charles Kerzak grounded into a fielder’s choice, tagging Neal, and a couple of pop-flies ended the inning for Morgantown.
MHS would only get on base one more time in the game.
On the mound, Ethan Stewart got the start for Morgantown and pitched four innings, allowing four runs (clinching the loss) while striking out four batters. Ethan Smith pitched relief in the final three innings, allowing two earned runs and striking out three batters.
For University, Casey Smith believes the win set the Hawks up to clinch the top-seed in the section.
“I think we’re the number-one seed in the section now,” Casey Smith said. “It depends on what Wheeling Park does.”
UHS fell at Wheeling Park, 3-2, in the OVAC Semifinal on April 21.
Both MHS and UHS will hit the road for action April 24. The Hawks will head to Charleston to take on George Washington. The Mohigans will play Bridgeport. Both games start at 4:30 p.m.