Local Sports, Sports

Controversy at 3rd: Bridgeport pulls ahead in extra innings following close safe call

It seems like the Morgantown Post 2 just started their season a little while ago. Yet the Area 2 postseason tournament began Wednesday night at Mylan Park with No. 2-seed Post 2 hosting rival and No. 3-seed Bridgeport Post 68.

What ensued was nothing less than a beautifully played, old-fashioned pitchers’ duel, as Post 68 right-hander Cole Peschl and Post 2 lefty Reed Bailey both hurled one quality inning after the next.  

But it would be Pot 68 who broke the duel, as Bridgeport pulled ahead in crunch time, taking the go-ahead run in the top of the ninth for an exciting 2-1 victory.    

Post 2 (12-8) was gifted the first run of the ballgame in the second when Zach Owens raced home from third on a two-out infield error. While Bailey continued to keep the Bridgeport (10-5) lineup under wraps by pounding the inner third of the strike zone and grinding out outs and scoreless innings, Morgantown finally broke through against Peschl with back-to-back singles in the fourth, but couldn’t add to their narrow lead. And Post 68’s starter made them pay right away in the fifth, as he stroked a lead-off double and scored on Drew Hogue’s RBI grounder to knot the score, 1-1. 

“We considered bringing the infield in there, especially considering the kind of game it turned into,” said Post 2 manager Andy Altemus, “but we really value outs against good hitting teams, and with the pitch count rules, it made sense to ensure the out.”       

Post 2 had a runner in scoring position with none out in the sixth, but Peschl used his hard slider and slow curve to perfection to strike out three straight, preserving the tie. After a scoreless seventh, Zach Brennan replaced Bailey with one out in the eighth and closed out the inning, while Peschl was relieved by crafty righthander Austen Mann, who did the same. 

With two outs in the top of the ninth and Anthony Dixon at second, Mann tapped a slow grounder into the hole between short and third that Cody Thomas knocked down. The young shortstop saw the Post 68 runner round the third-base bag and run several steps toward the plate. He flipped the ball to third baseman Aaron Forbes, who stretched and tagged Dixon desperately scrambling back to the bag. Although the tag seemed to beat Dixon’s reach, the glove hit up on the arm or shoulder, and the third-base umpire called Dixon safe, despite the vehement protest of Forbes and Altemus. A pair of walks followed, with Frank Why’s bases-loaded base-on-balls forcing across the deciding run. 

“I told the team that I’m not mad at them whatsoever,” Altemus said. “I think a call like that is pretty tough, especially at that point of such a well-played game. For Cody to make such a heads-up play in a big spot, and I’d just rather let the players dictate the outcome of the game. Reed competed so well tonight, and our defense and our fight to win was so strong, it was a great game to watch but a tough one to lose.” 

Post 2 faces the loser of Thursday’s 5:30 p.m. game between Bridgeport and top-seed Clarksburg immediately following that game, and Altemus is far from pessimistic about his team’s chances to emerge from the loser’s bracket. 

“I think it sets up pretty well for us, actually,” he said. “We will face a team that just played for two hours in the sun against a real good team. We win that one, and then we can go from there. We’re not done yet, not by any means.” 

Bridgeport Post 68    000  010  001  –  2 

Morgantown Post 2  010  000  000  –  1 


Aiden Paulsen c 4 0 0 0 Ben McDougal rf 3 0 0 0 Ryan Goff ss 4 0 0 0 Nate Paulsen cf 2 0 1 0 Anthony Dixon 1b 4 1 2 0 Xavier Lopez 3b 4 0 0 0 Cole Peschl p 3 1 1 0 Drew Hogue lf 3 0 0 1 Frank Why 2b 3 0 1 1 Austen Mann p 1 0 1 0 Totals 31 2 6 2. 


Jacob Kennell lf 3 0 0 0 Avante Neal cf 4 0 0 0 Aaron Forbes 3b 3 0 0 0 Tony Marsh rf 4 0 1 0 Zach Owens dh 3 1 1 0 Ty Galusky c 3 0 1 0 Cody Thomas ss 4 0 1 0 Caleb Cottle 1b 3 0 0 0 Domenic Colasante 2b 3 0 0 0 Reed Bailey p 0 0 0 0 Zach Brennan p 0 0 0 0 Brent Robinson pr 0 0 0 0 Totals 30 1 4 0. 

E – Bridgeport 2. DP – Bridgeport 1, Morgantown 2. LOB – Bridgeport 8, Morgantown 6. 2B – Bridgeport 1 (Peschl). SH – Morgantown 1 (Galusky). HBP – Bridgeport 1 (A. Paulsen by Bailey), Morgantown 1 (Kennell by Peschl). 

Bridgeport – Peschl 7 ip 1 r 0 er 3 h 2 bb 10 so, Mann (W) 2 ip 0 r 0 er 1 h 0 bb 1 so. 

Morgantown – Bailey 7.1 ip 1 r 1 er 3 h 3 bb 7 so, Brennan (L) 1.2 ip 1 r 1 er 3 h 2 bb 2 so.