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Post 2 can’t dig out of early hole in 9-5 loss to Bridgeport

MORGANTOWN — The dog days of summer have set in as the unobstructed sun hung high in the sky above Dale Miller Field Wednesday evening, heating up an area matchup between Morgantown Post 2 and Bridgeport Post 68 at Mylan Park.

Post 2 is into the meat of its schedule, playing 15 games in a three-week span, but got off on the wrong foot Wednesday. The first five Bridgeport batters all reached base and came around to score in the top of the first inning, putting Morgantown in a 5-0 hole before even coming to the plate.

Post 2 starting pitcher Reed Bailey is coming back from an injury he sustained while playing at Ithaca College this spring and Morgantown coach Andy Altemus said he is still trying to work back into form.

“He’s working back into it and I want him to focus on being who he is, rather than being worried about pitch counts and having to work on stuff,” Altemus said. “That’s what I want for everybody. I think we’re so caught up on ‘we’ve got to get right, got to work on stuff, analyzing swings and this and that’. Just play baseball, have fun with your friends and you’ll get back into it.”

Bailey’s second inning was much better as he stranded a leadoff double at third base in a scoreless frame.

That allowed Post 2 to respond in the bottom of the inning. Jett Walters led off with a double and scored on Drew Bailey’s groundball to first base. Drew Bailey later scored on Ethan Dorkins’ fielder’s choice. Morgantown scored again in the third when Tommy Montague doubled home Aaron Forbes to make it a 5-3 game.

That was as close as the hosts would get to a comeback, however, as Bridgeport got a run back in the fourth and added three insurance tallies in the sixth. Those runs were charged to Connor Tingler, who allowed one run from the third to the fifth inning before failing to record an out in the sixth.

“They’re pressing for sure and it’s hard to press when you’re playing Bridgeport in this gauntlet that we’re in right now,” Altemus said. “It’s not going to get much easier, but it’s kind of on them to figure it out.”

Post 2 scored twice in the bottom of the seventh after Forbes and Montegue led off with back-to-back doubles. Caleb Cottle’s groundout scored Forbes and Walters’s flare into left allowed Montague to come home for the 9-5 final score.

Post two only struck out twice and had four doubles at the plate, but failed to get timely hits when needed the most.

“We hit balls hard and they got caught up in the infield,” Altemus said. “Just not really timely hitting and it’s not really been like that all year. Then everybody starts to get down a hole and we don’t want to fight our way out. Once we try to fight our way out, maybe it’ll work out for us.”

Walters led Post 2 with three hits, an RBI and a run. Forbes and Montague both had two knocks. Montague, Cottle, Drew Bailey and Dorkins all had an RBI.

“This is by far the most talent that we’ve had since 2019 and I think one of the problems is that I like these guys so much because they’re such likable guys,” Altemus said. “They all really like each other and enjoy each others’ company. That’s awesome, but you’ve got to be able to flip a switch. We’re trying to figure that out, but it’s hard.”

Bridgeport was led by Conner Blake’s three RBI. Mark Biafore had two hits and an RBI and Dylan Duvall had two hits and drove in two. Ben Bifono got the win, allowing three runs in two innings. Andrew Bell pitched 3 2/3 scoreless innings of relief.

Morgantown is back at it tomorrow with a home game against Fairmont Post 17 at 7 p.m. Post 2 will celebrate kids night where all youth baseball players in attendance will take on-field batting practice with the team starting at 5:15 p.m.

“With tomorrow being kids day, I think that might be enlightening for (Post 2),” Altemus said. “You’re going to have 100 kids out here that want to be you. It’s little things you can to do show them that we run bases hard, we back up bases and we get bunts down. We do things right.”

Post 68 9, Post 2 5
Bridgeport 500 103 0 — 9 8 4
Morgantown 021 000 2 — 5 9 1
BRIDGEPORT POST 68 — Paulsen 4 2 2 0; McDougal 4 2 1 0; Dixon 4 3 1 1; Biafore 4 1 2 1; Blake 3 1 1 3; Via 2 0 0 1; Lively 1 0 0 0; Duvall 3 0 2 2; Romano 2 0 0 0; Lough 3 0 0 0. Totals 30 9 9 8.
MORGANTOWN POST 2 — Thomas 3 0 1 0; Forbes 4 2 2 0; Montague 3 1 2 1; Cottle 4 0 0 1; Walters 3 1 3 1; Templeton 3 0 0 0; D. Bailey 3 1 0 1; Latocha 3 0 0 0; Ethan Dorkins 2 0 0 1. Totals 28 5 8 5.
2B — Morgantown: Montague 2, Walters, Forbes. Bridgeport: Paulsen, Dixon.
WP: Bifono 2ip, 3h, 3r, 1k, 1bb
LP: R. Bailey 2ip, 5h, 5r, 3k, 1bb

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