By Stephen Smoot
As the season wound down in the first week of May, Pendleton County Wildcats traveled to the mountaintop to compete against the Petersburg Vikings on their home field.
The Wildcats faced a mountain of obstacles in this contest. First, Petersburg came in with a 14 – 8 record to Pendleton County’s 11-6 mark. The Vikings have played eight more games, giving them almost a month’s worth of games over and above the Wildcats.
They also faced difficult conditions. Petersburg’s field is a challenge on the best of days with its slight downhill slope from left to right field. On this evening, the weather also came into play. A huge gray cloud hovered over the field until the fifth inning, occasionally spitting sleet and rain. Winds also gusted out toward center field until the fourth inning.
The prime obstacle, however, came from Petersburg’s ace, William Vanmeter who has put together a strong year.
The first three innings saw the two teams deadlocked as both pitchers kept each other’s teams off the scoreboard. Clayton Kisamore pitched well, but Vanmeter was perfect.
Petersburg took control of the game in the bottom of the third. The fourth batter of the inning drove a pitch to deep left, knocking in two runs. Wind gusts made the play difficult. The Vikings posted a total of five runs in the inning.
Vanmeter kept Pendleton County off of the bases with outstanding control. He changed speeds effectively between a solid fastball and a withering changeup.
The Vikings struck again in the bottom of the fourth, starting with a leadoff walk. That runner was caught stealing and the next batter struck out. Once again, Petersburg did their damage with two outs. They singled, doubled, and walked to load the bases, then knocked in two RBIs. A subsequent single put the score at eight to nothing.
They added one more run in the bottom of the sixth for a 9-0 lead.
Until the second batter of the sixth inning, Vanmeter had dealt perfection. The perfect game ended when he hit a batter, but he still ended the game with a 13 strikeout no hitter.
On the following night, the Wildcats hosted the triple A Musselman Applemen. The squad from Berkeley County won 8-0 and five pitchers combined on a two hitter.
On April 26, the Wildcats hosted the Mountain Lions from Tucker County. Although the opposing squad drew first blood with a run in the top of the first, the Wildcats answered with a four run second that kept them ahead for good. Tucker County answered with a single run in the top of the third, followed by a six run Pendleton County explosion.
A five-run bottom of the fourth helped to extend the lead to the point where the game ended in the fifth. Kisamore started the game, scattering three hits and two runs over three innings. Chase Owens picked up the win during his three innings of middle.
Kisamore went one for two with a double, three walks, and four runs scored. Owens went two for three with three runs scored. Brayden Beachler picked up three RBIs while going two for five. James Vincell knocked in four runs while going one for two.
Pendleton County dominated with mistake free defense, committing no errors. The Mountain Lions, conversely, made five errors when they held the field.