MORGANTOWN — Morgantown High senior Aaron Jamison had a large portion of his season taken away due to a nagging hamstring injury suffered early in the year.
On Tuesday morning, he texted his head coach Pat Sherald letting him know he was ready to go for a win-or-go-home game against rival University in game two of the Region 1 championship series, feeling good about entering as the designated hitter or playing first base.
Sherald’s response was a no-brainer, “where do you want to play?”
Jamison entered the game at first base for the Mohigans (24-7) and made his impact on both sides of the ball to help his team bounce back from a 13-1 series-opening loss on Monday night.
The WVU commit made some plays on defense, including a leaping catch on a line drive that was heading to the right field corner, before then blasting a go-ahead two-run home run in the top of the seventh inning that gave MHS a 6-4 lead and eventually, a series-tying win to knot things at one game each.
The Hawks and Mohigans will now move to Wagener Field at Monongalia County Ballpark for a decisive Game 3 that will see one team moving on to the state tournament in Charleston next month, and the other going home.
“We competed all seven innings tonight, and that’s what we told them we needed coming in,” Sherald said after the game. “Last night was pretty uncharacteristic of our club. Tip your hat to Aaron Jamison there coming off of injury and stepping up for his team. (starting pitcher) Hunter Dakan came out today and competed for us and our guys were swinging the bat well.”
The Mohigans opened the scoring in the top of the second inning when senior left fielder Drew Bailey hit a solo homer over the left field fence.
It wasn’t long after that UHS (23-11) tied the game when Gabe Templeton singled up the middle, scoring Noah Braham from third.
The next two runs for MHS each came on sacrifice flys as Caleb Nutter and Ryan Fluharty each earned their team a crucial run in the top of the fourth and fifth innings, giving MHS a 3-1 lead entering the bottom half of the fifth.
After Dakan hit two batters and walked a third, Fluharty replaced him on the mound in relief. The senior earned a strikeout on the first batter he faced but allowed the Hawks to score three runs on another hit batter and two more walks.
UHS entered the top of the seventh inning with just three outs standing between them and a spot in the state tournament next week.
Hawks senior Cody Thomas walked Riley Anderson to lead off the inning, then Weston Mazey dropped a sacrifice bunt to allow Anderson to move into scoring position. MHS catcher Ty Galusky then doubled to left field, but Anderson was unable to round third in time and was held up.
Another sacrifice fly by Fluharty though tied the game at four as Anderson tagged from third base.
That’s when Jamison stepped up to the plate and sent the 0-2 pitch deep to left field for a two-run home run that gave MHS a 6-4 lead in the top of the seventh inning.
“I saw the fastball coming and just took my two-strike approach,” Jamison said of the at-bat. “Choke up a little bit and try to get the barrel to it and just let the rest of the play happen.”
The 6-4 MHS victory means Game 3 will be played this evening at 5:00 p.m. at Monongalia County Ballpark. Morgantown will serve as the home team.
Morgantown 6, University 4
MHS 010 110 3 – 6 6 1
UHS 001 030 0 – 4 3 2
Morgantown – Mazey 0000, Galusky 3120, Fluharty 2002, Jamison 3212, Bailey 4111, Nutter 0001, Travinski 3020, Cottle 3000, Anderson 0200
HR: Bailey, Jamison
University – Latocha 4010, Thomas 4000, Braham 3210, Campbell 1100, Croston 3100, Templeton 4011, Jansen 2001, Walters 2001, Smolkin 1001
WP: Fluharty 2.2ip 0h 0r 2bb 3k
LP: Thomas 1.2ip 3h 3r 1bb 0k