Local Sports, Sports

Post 2 forces mercy-rule against Fairmont, clinches top seed in Area 2 tournament

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — As Morgantown Post 2 welcomed area-rival Fairmont Post 17 to Mylan Park on Friday evening, the team had revenge on the mind.

Two weeks ago, Fairmont pulled off the upset against Post 2 on their home field, nabbing a one-run victory in extra innings. The memory of that loss was fresh in home dugout on Friday, and Morgantown would use it to help fuel them to 12-2 victory in six innings. The win secured the top seed in next weekend’s Area 2 Tournament for Post 2.

“Fairmont beat us there, and no one was happy about that,” Morgantown slugger Quintin Smith said. “We wanted to come out and prove we really were the best team in the area, and we should be going to the state tournament every year.”

“This is big because it gets us a better seeding in the tournament, so we’ll be up against a bit of an easier team.”

The first affair between the two teams this season was a back-and-forth battle which saw Fairmont jump out to a 10-7 lead after five innings, leaving Morgantown to come from behind to force extra play. Post 2 made sure a similar situation wouldn’t lead to another loss Friday, driving home six runs in the first two innings to open a large gap.

Tyler Barnette credits his team’s ability to put the pressure on early to result in the drastically different score from the previous matchup.

“It’s huge, and it’s the complete opposite of what we did last time against them,” he said. “We have to try and do that every game, because when you can get up on a team early, that helps pitchers out, it helps batters out — it just helps everybody.”

According to Smith, the type of hot-hitting that propelled the team’s exciting start with nine of the first 12 at bats going down as a hit for Post 2 also helps drive up momentum on the team.

“It helps when your lead-off man starts with a double, and the next kid hits a hard line drive up the middle,” Smith said.

“When you start scoring runs and hitting balls hard, it makes everyone want to come out and compete even harder.”

Post 2 players score against Fairmont on Friday.

Hot bats have been a key to success for Post 2 for the majority of the past two seasons, and Friday was no different, with the team tallying 11 hits on 29 at bats. Their last two contests have seen them post a batting average of .450 and mercy-rule both opponents in six innings.

“We’re just seeing the ball well, and we’re hitting it hard. We’re making people actually make plays instead of hitting weak little pop-ups,” Smith said. “When you’re putting the ball on the ground or hitting line drives, you get more chances at being on-base.”

“Our plate approach is right, and we’re out there to be aggressive right now. We play best when we attack pitches early in the count and are active on the bases,” Barnette said. “I didn’t see very many at bats I wasn’t happy about today, and when we have that I think we’re going to be successful.”

Post 2 will close their regular season Saturday with a double-header at Potomac State College against Romney. The first game is slated for 10 a.m.