Local Sports, Morgantown, Sports

Mazey’s 16-pitch at-bat sparks Morgantown to section championship over Wheeling Park

MORGANTOWN — Sometimes all a team needs is a spark.

Weston Mazey provided that spark for Morgantown baseball Saturday morning in the form of a 16-pitch at-bat that helped the Mohigans defeat Wheeling Park 2-1 and claim the Class AA Region I, Section 1 championship.

“That was a game-changing at-bat for us,” MHS coach Pat Sherald said. “I’ve never seen a 16-pitch at-bat, the most I’ve ever seen was Jedd Gyorko starting a game off with 15 pitches once. That 16-pitch at-bat just changed the game completely for us.”

Mazey’s 16-pitch plate appearance came in the bottom of the fifth inning with the Mohigans (25-7) trailing 1-0. After failing to lay down a bunt on the first pitch, he fouled off 11 of the next 14 pitches he saw.

“I should’ve bunted the first pitch but I popped it up,” Mazey lamented. “Once you get to two strikes, you’ve got to take away everything.”

As Mazey fouled off pitch after pitch, the Morgantown dugout, which had lacked energy during the cold and cloudy morning, progressively became more and more animated.

“I think it’s pretty hard to hit fastballs in with two strikes and that’s what I kept getting so I just kept fighting them off,” Mazey explained. “I was thinking it was ridiculous that I didn’t get a hit. I had plenty of pitches to hit, but fouled them off.”

Finally, the 16th pitch he saw from WP (17-14) starter Nate Simon was high and Mazey was able to jog down to first base with a walk. By that time, the MHS bench was practically in hysterics. 

“It was amazing,” said MHS starting pitcher Tristan Milik. “He couldn’t get anything by (Mazey). 

In the box score, all Mazey’s walk did was put runners on first and second with no outs, but in real time it injected some much-needed life and excitement into an MHS lineup that desperately needed a little of both.

“Obviously, runs were scarce,” Sherald said. “To have that quality of an at-bat was huge for us.”

“That was the momentum shift in the game,” Mazey said.

Mason Bowers followed with a bunt single to load the bases with no outs. Following a strikeout, Dylan Travinski, the Mohigans’ top hitter, was able to take a two-strike pitch the other way for a single into right field that scored Caleb Nutter from third and tied the game 1-1.

“He’s been our guy in the batter’s box all year,” Sherald said. “He’s the one hitter that you want to see come up in that situation. We work a lot of our two-strike approach and he got in there and just gutted out that at-bat for us.”

After another punch out, Eli Boggs worked a walk to force in Mazey and put MHS up 2-1.

It turned out two runs was all the Mohigans needed as Milik spun a gem on the mound. The senior pitched all seven innings, allowing just one run on five hits while striking out seven and not issuing a free pass.

“That’s about as good as he’s looked,” Sherald said. “He went out there and took command of the game. He’s really matured as a pitcher for us this season and every game he seems to be getting a little bit stronger.”

The Patriots got their run in the bottom of the third on an RBI single by Simon that scored Jared Marsh. After that, however, Milik allowed just three baserunners over the final four innings.

“It’s really important to just bear down and get outs,” Milik said. “I had amazing defense behind me today.”

Nate Wolfe and Nutter had two hits each to lead MHS while Mazey and Boggs were on base three times apiece.

Simon took the loss on the mound despite a strong performance for the Patriots. He allowed two runs in four innings on three hits while striking out two and talking two.

The Mohigans now advance to the Class AAA Region I championship, where they will face Bridgeport in a best-of-three series. 

Morgantown 2, Wheeling Park 1
WP 001 000 0 — 1 5 3
MHS 000 020 x — 2 7 1
WHEELING PARK (17-14) — Marsh 3 1 1 0; Rosenthal 3 0 0 0; Simon 3 0 1 1; Kupsky 3 0 1 0; DiGiandomenico 2 0 1 0; Robb 3 0 1 0; Yanchek 2 0 0 0; McGee 2 0 0 0; Gorby 1 0 0 0; Gump 2 0 0 0; Burkhart 1 0 0 0. Totals 25 1 5 1.
MORGANTOWN (25-7) — Bowers 3 0 1 0; Silvers 3 0 0 0; Travinski 4 0 1 1; Milik 3 0 0 0; Boggs 0 0 0 1; Wolfe 3 0 2 0; Jeffries 3 0 0 0; Nutter 3 1 2 0; Mazey 1 1 1 0. Totals 23 2 7 2.
WP: Milik 7ip, 1r, 5h, 0bb, 7k
LP: Simon 4ip, 2r, 3h, 2bb, 2k