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Seventh-inning rally falls short as Post 2 loses to Aces 9-7

MORGANTOWN — Morgantown Post 2 nearly turned a one-hit blowout into a stunning comeback, but a three-run rally in the bottom of the seventh fell just short in a 9-7 loss to the Appalachian Aces on the second day of the WAJR Wood Bat Tournament on Dale Miller Field at Mylan Park Saturday night.

Post 2 (1-3) was one-hit through six innings and trailed 9-4 going into the final frame. Each of the first five hitters reached safely as Morgantown got the tying run to second base with no outs. Following an infield popup, Aces’ centerfielder Nate Whiteman caught a fly ball for the second out of the inning and then threw home to try and get the tagging runner, despite his entire team yelling to throw it to third. The throw ended up being perfect as Post 2’s Brady McNew was tagged out at home plate to end the game.

“We were screaming ‘three’. It wasn’t the baseball play, but he made a hell of a play,” Aces coach Kobie Carpenter said. “You send (the runner) because you’re planning on the fact that (the fielder) doesn’t make a perfect throw. 

“It was a great throw, a great catch and a great tag. All around it was a great play.”

The Aces, a travel team based in Morgantown, got out to a 4-0 lead in the top of the first taking advantage of some miscues from Morgantown. The aces scored on an error and a passed ball as well as a double by Gage Tawney and Whiteman’s sacrifice fly.

“That’s still a really good baseball team, whether they messed up or not,” Carpenter said of Post 2. “They, at any point in time, could come back and take the lead. It was good to score four and give ourselves a bit of an advantage.”

Post 2 came back to score two in the bottom of the frame on Park Cryole’s RBI single, but Aces starter Hayden Jones locked in from there. Jones, from Fairmont Senior, pitched three innings of one-hit ball allowing two runs and striking out three.

“We preach attacking guys and if they’re going to hit doubles all day, it is what it is and you didn’t have your best stuff,” Carpenter said. “The name of the game is getting ahead, when you get ahead you put them in a disadvantaged count then kids end up wanting to chase.

“He did a fantastic job of getting ahead of hitters and letting his stuff work.”

Whiteman followed Jones on the mound and turned in three hitless innings, although he ended his outing by walking five straight batters to push across two more Post 2 runs. 

By then the Aces already led 7-4, however. RBI doubles by Parker Jefferies and Whiteman and a sacrifice fly by Levi Boyd allowed the Aces to keep adding on in the middle innings. Back-to-back RBIs by Mark Biafore and Luke Blaydes in the top of the sixth had them ahead 9-4 entering the seventh.

“We’ve struggled all weekend,” Post 2 coach Andy Altemus said. “We’re playing young guys and trying to give them an opportunity to see what they can do. Guys get opportunities and some guys took advantage and some guys didn’t. That’s just how it works.”

Josh Smolkin’s leadoff single in the seventh was Morgantown’s second hit of the game and, was followed by a Drew Bailey walk and Gabe Templeton’s single, but the rally fell just short of tying the game. 

“Top to bottom, today wasn’t great. I thought we competed okay but even with that last inning, it wasn’t good enough,” Altemus said. “We didn’t deserve it even if we would’ve won. They deserved it and we didn’t.”

Smolkin reached base three times and scored three runs for Post 2 as University High teammates Croyle and Templeton each had an RBI. Preston’s McNew also drove in a run.

Post 2 dropped its first game Saturday 2-0 to Potomac Valley Post 64 (Md.). Ethan Dorkins had two hits in the game while Mayson Jack pitched six innings, allowing two runs on six hits with five strikeouts.

In addition to his pitching and outfield defense, Whiteman also hit a double, scored a run and drove in two at the plate. Jefferies and Biafore had two hits each as the Aces played with a 13-man batting order.

Both teams will be back in action today as the WAJR Wood Bat Tournament wraps up at Mylan Park.

Appalachian Aces 9, Morgantown Post 2 7

Aces 401 202 0 — 9 8 1

Post 2 200 020 3 — 7 3 3

ACES — Musko 2 2 1 0; Jefferies 3 1 2 1; Biaford 3 1 2 1; Blaydes 3 1 0 1; Tawney 2 2 1 0; Whiteman 2 1 1 2; Boyd 2 0 0 1; St. Clair 3 0 0 0; Jones 2 0 0 0; McDonough 0 0 0 0; Currey 1 0 0 0; Bradley 2 0 0 0; Zupper 2 1 1 0. Totals 25 9 8 6.

POST 2 — Latocha 3 1 0 0; Smolkin 3 3 1 0; Bailey 1 2 0 0; Templeton 2 1 1 1; McNew 3 0 0 1; Croyle 3 0 1 2; Gamble 2 0 0 0; Velickoff 2 0 0 0; Cash 3 0 0 0; Crudup 1 0 0 0; Tingler 2 0 0 0. Totals 25 7 3 4.

2B — Aces: Jefferies, Whiteman, Tawney.

WP: Jones 3ip, 1h, 2r, 1bb, 3k

LP: Furbee 5ip, 5h, 7r, 4bb, 1k