Morgantown earns split in timely fashion at WAJR Wood Bat Classic

MORGANTOWN — Morgantown Post 2’s baseball players had time on their side during the WAJR Wood Bat Classic, at Mylan Park, on June 8.

After dropping an 8-0 decision to Uniontown, Pa., earlier in the day, Post 2 drove home two runs in the sixth inning of its nightcap, against Romney — runs that would ultimately secure a 2-1 win for the squad.

Romney got a walk with the bases loaded to even the score, in the top of the seventh, but the game-tying run came just a little too late; the game reached the tournament-mandated two-hour time limit just 10 minutes later, before Morgantown could complete its final at-bat.

With the game brought to an early close, the score reverted back to the last completed inning — a welcome turn of luck for Post 2.

“I don’t like playing it this way, but it’s a tournament; it’s what you have to do,” Post 2 coach Tyler Barnette said. “Even with it being the last game of the day, you still have to follow through on it, because other teams had to deal with that earlier today.”

According to Barnette, Romney posits one of the toughest challenges in West Virginia American Legion baseball, and the win could prove critical in building momentum and confidence for the Post 2 squad.

“This is one of the better teams in the state. They’re a really good team, and the state tournament is going to go through a team like that,” he said. “If we want to compete for a state championship, this is what we’re going to have to do.”

Barnette credited pitcher Colton Matthews for playing a large part in the victory, as he took charge of the tempo from the mound and allowed little opportunity for big hits from the opposition.

“Colton Matthews was great on the mound today. I think he really controlled the pace of the game — he went out there, forced contact and made his fielders take care of the baseball,” he said. “In a situation like this, that’s all you can ask him to do.”

Matthews was prepared for a challenge from the guests at the plate, and kept focus on delivering lower pitches that the Romney batters would have trouble getting under.

“I was just trying to keep my pitches low,” Matthews said. “A few times I let my curveball come up, but when I kept it low they were mostly hitting ground balls.”

The win moves Post 2 to 3-1 on the season, with the loss coming in the decision versus Uniontown.

“In the first game we had a lot of errors, and we couldn’t string the hits together; Uniontown is a very good team, and they took advantage of our errors and pulled out a win,” Barnette said. “It just goes to show the importance of defense and taking care of the baseball. You’re not going to win many games with three or four errors.”

The Wood Bat Classic continues today at Mylan Park, with action scheduled to kick off at 1 p.m. from both Mylan Field and Shilling Field.

Post 2 plays two more games today, versus Elkins, at 3:30 p.m., and Steubenville, Ohio, at 6 p.m.

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