Local Sports, Morgantown, Sports

Silvers and Nutter cash in with 2 outs as MHS stays alive in Regional Series to force Game 3 at Bridgeport

MORGANTOWN — The Mohigans weren’t ready to hang their cleats up just yet as the Morgantown baseball team used a pair of huge two-out hits to rally past Bridgeport 5-1 in Game 2 of the Class AAA Region I championship series Tuesday evening on Dale Miller Field.

After squandering a number of scoring chances in Monday’s 2-1 loss at Bridgeport, the Mohigans (28-8) cashed in on those opportunities to keep their season alive on Tuesday.

“I’m really proud of their effort as far as how they competed in the batter’s box today,” MHS coach Pat Sherald said. 

Coupled with another stellar starting pitching performance, this time from senior Hunter Dakan, the Mohigans were able to hold off the Indians (32-5) and send the series to a do-or-die game three at Bridgeport today at 5:30 p.m.

“Wednesday is it, so they either come with the right mindset and have a good approach at the plate or the better team is going to beat us,” BHS coach Robert Shields said.

Morgantown reversed its fortunes from Monday and capitalized on a scoring opportunity right away on Tuesday. Leadoff man Mason Bowers drew a walk to start the bottom of the first inning and worked his way to third on a passed ball and a single from Koa Silvers. Cleanup hitter Tristan Milik grounded out to third to bring Bowers in and give MHS a 1-0 lead.

Morgantown’s Mason Bowers (5) slides across home plate to score a run against Bridgeport on Tuesday. (William Wotring/The Dominion Post)

Bridgeport evened things up when Zach Rohrig doubled to lead off the top of the fourth and came around to score on Mark Biafore’s sacrifice fly to right field.

That’s when Morgantown’s offense finally broke through. Eli Boggs walked and Caleb Nutter and Bowers both laid down bunt singles to load the bases for Silvers with two outs. BHS reliever Carson Currey got ahead with two strikes on Silvers, but the sophomore second baseman choked up on his bat and sent a line drive right back up the middle into center field to score two and put MHS back up 3-1.

“With two strikes, I just battled and simplified it,” Silvers said. “(When you) put the ball in play, good things happen…It felt like a breakthrough to finally get on the board. It felt good.”

In the next inning, Nutter faced a similar situation at the plate with two outs and two runners on. The senior catcher also battled and struck the ball hard the other way, turning around Bridgeport’s left fielder for a two-out, two-run double to boost the lead to 5-1.

 “An outstanding job of hitting with two strikes,” Sherald said. “Then Caleb Nutter, a senior, gets behind one and drives it to the opposite field for two big RBIs for us.”

Morgantown’s Caleb Nutter (9) connects on a pitch against Bridgeport on Tuesday. (William Wotring/The Dominion Post)

Meanwhile, Dakan was cruising on the mound. Even without his usual control, the southpaw allowed just three baserunners between the second and sixth innings. He pitched all seven innings, giving up just one run on two hits while walking three and striking out four.

“He only gave up two hits, completed and kept us in the ballgame for the whole time,” Sherald said. “He didn’t have the command that he usually has, but he able able to keep us in the ballgame and never quit. He’s just a pure competitor, a guy that wants the ball in every situation.”

Rorhig had both Bridgeport’s hits, following his fourth-inning double with a single in the sixth. He was quickly erased on a 4-6-3 double play, however.

“It’s just about the approach, it starts from the on-deck circle,” Shields said. “They take thousands and thousands of swings, but they’ve got to be able to hit with the pitch and take the ball where it needs to go. We’re trying to pull the ball and we’re underneath it.”

Bridgeport got something going in the top of the seventh with its first two batters getting on via a hit-by-pitch and a walk. The next batter hit the ball to shortstop, hitting the Indians’ lead runner, however, for an out. The next hitter lined out to Silvers at second base and the Mohigans were able to double off the runner at second, ending the game.

Morgantown’s Hunter Dakan (12) reacts after closing out an inning against Bridgeport on Tuesday. (William Wotring/The Dominion Post)

“That summed up how we played today,” Shield said. “(Morgantown) hit the ball when they needed to and if you make a mistake in a game like this, it’s going to cost you.”

Bridgeport starter Rowan Michaelis threw 3.1 innings, allowing three runs on three hits with three walks and two strikeouts. Currey pitched the final 2.2 innings, allowing two runs on six hits.

With both Dakan and game one starter Dylan Travinski pitching complete games, the Mohigans have their entire bullpen available today. Milik will start on the mound for MHS.

“Pitching-wise, we’re going to have to throw the ball in the strike zone,” Sherald said. “Offensively, we’ve just got to continue our momentum from this game. I’m really confident in the boys as far as how they’re competing right now.”

Milik is the third in what has been a phenomenal starting trio for MHS this year alongside Travinski and Dakan. Milik enters today’s game 5-1 with a 2.58 ERA.

“It’s the most confidence I’ve ever had playing,” Silvers said. “It’s great, especially knowing Tristan’s on the mound tomorrow. It gives us a really good shot.”

Morgantown 5, Bridgeport 1
BHS 000 100 0 — 1 2 0
MHS 100 220 x — 5 9 0
BRIDGEPORT (32-5) — Baun 3 0 0 0; Pierce 2 0 0 0; Rohrig 3 1 2 0; Duvall 2 0 0 0; Biafore 1 0 0 1; Lively 2 0 0 0; Bifano 1 0 0 0; Blake 2 0 0 0; A. Curry 2 0 0 0; Romano 2 0 0 0. Totals 20 1 2 1.
MORGANTOWN (28-8) — Bowers 3 1 2 0; Silvers 3 0 2 2; Travinski 3 0 0 0; Milik 4 0 1 1; Fields 3 0 0 0; Wolfe 3 1 1 0; Boggs 2 2 0 0; Nutter 2 1 2 2; Mazey 3 0 1 0. Totals 26 5 9 5.
2B: MHS (Nutter)
WP: Dakan 7ip, 1r, 2h, 3bb, 4k
LP: Michaelis 3.1ip, 3r, 3h, 3bb, 2k