By Stephen Smoot
After the disappointing loss to Petersburg in the opening game, the Wildcats had to turn around and face double A Keyser to close the day. The Golden Tornado boasted a 6-4 record coming in with big wins over Petersburg, triple A Spring Mills, and Frankfort and tough losses to teams such as Martinsburg and Allegany.
Weather conditions only changed from the first game in that the breeze blew slightly harder and colder at times.
Landon Colaw started the game at pitcher for Pendleton County. Keyser worked their first at bat into an infield single to short, followed by a five pitch strikeout. Unfortunately, the next batter took a two strike pitch deep for a home run.
With one out, the next Golden Tornado batsman hit a line drive single into left field, followed by an infield single, fielded by Dillon Smith at third. A passed ball allowed runners to move to second and third. Colaw got the next batter to pop out on a 2-1 pitch and the subsequent hitter to tap a slow ground ball to third for the easy play. Keyser took a 2-0 lead into the bottom of the inning.
Pendleton County tried to answer in the bottom of the inning. With one out, Clayton Kisamore knocked a base hit to shallow center. He advanced to scoring position on a James Vincell ground ball, but the next hitters could not drive Kisamore in.
Keyser drew a lead off walk to start the inning, but Vincell’s precise throw stopped his steal attempt when the next batter fell to a 1-2 count. Colaw then got the runner to ground out to third for the second out. The Golden Tornado struck again with the next hitter, who lofted a deep ball out of play for a home run.
With a three run lead and two outs, Keyser drew a walk. Coach Sam Yokum then tapped Dustin Vandevander to step in. His first batter earned a walk. With runners on first and second, Vandevander got the next batter to ground out to second, but not before another runner crossed the plate.
Pendleton County went into the bottom of the second down 4-0, going down in order. Vandevander allowed a lead off standup double to start the third, but got the next three batters to fly out in order.
The top of the fourth saw the Keyser bats erupt again. They earned a lead off walk, followed by an unintentionally hit batter. The next hitter was called out on the infield fly rule, leaving one out with runners at first and second. A walk left the bases loaded on a single out, but the next batter hit the ball sharply back to the pitcher. Vandevander tossed the ball to Vincell to catch the lead runner at home for the second out.
The next batter walked, scoring a run. The Golden Tornado followed with a single to left and a hit batter, extending their lead to 7-0.
After another walk scored a run, Cashton Kisamore came in to pitch. Keyser shot a grand slam home run to left. The inning ended on a slow ground ball to first and a 12-0 score.
Caleb Armentrout entered the game to lead off the bottom of the fourth and earned an infield base hit. Cameron Beachler then knocked a seeing eye single through short. On his previous swing, he had hit the ball foul down the third base side, but adjusted slightly to gain the right timing. Brayden Beachler followed with a ground ball single.
Pendleton County had bases loaded and no outs, giving them one of their best opportunities of the day. Vandevander hit the ball safely to left field to score a run, but Keyser got the runner out at second. Jayden Roberson then shot a base hit to right to score another run, closing the gap to 12-2.
Chase Owens came to the plate with two outs and runners at first and second. As per usual, Owens delivered in the clutch with a base hit to right field, giving the team another RBI and a 12-3 score. Keyser’s pitching got the next batter to pop out to end an inning of solid offense.
In the top of the fifth, Keyser scored a single run to bring the threat of the 10 run rule back in play. With the Wildcats going down in order in the bottom of the inning, the Golden Tornado secured the win.
Coach Sam Yokum said after the tournament, “We only played eight games before Friday. I don’t want to say that we weren’t challenged, but we weren’t challenged. We ran into two teams here that are on their thirteenth and fourteenth games.”
“There are games coming up that they’ll grow from,” he added.
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