By Shawn Stinson
Right now if it wasn’t for bad luck, the Pendleton County baseball team may not have any luck at all.
Pendleton lost starting catcher James Vincell to a lower leg injury in a doubleheader split with South Harrison. Pendleton coach Sam Yokum said his team is down to nine healthy players and “three have never played before except for Little League.”
Pendleton dropped three of its four games last week. Moorefield posted a 9-0 victory, Pendleton knocked off South Harrison 16-5 in five innings in the opening game of a doubleheader, South Harrison rebounded to claim a 14-7 win and Pocahontas County rolled to a 14-4 win in five innings.
Before taking his team north on U.S. 220 to face the three-time defending Class A state champions, Yokum was concerned about Moorefield’s pitching.
Yokum had every right to be as two Moorefield pitchers held Pendleton hitless in a 9-0 win on March 30 in Moorefield.
Mike Cost earned the victory on the mound for the Yellow Jackets. Cost struck out eight in four innings. Gabe Weese hurled the final three innings for the save.
The Yellow Jackets scored five runs in the first inning to seize control on the game. They added two more in the second to grab a 7-0 lead.
Pendleton’s best chance of registering a hit in the contest came in the sixth inning when Clayton Kisamore ripped a line drive into the gap in left center. Gavin Wolfe made a running catch to begin an 8-4 double play to keep the no-hitter intact for Moorefield.
The Wildcats attempted to break up the shutout in the seventh when the leadoff batter reached, but Weese was able to escape the frame by coaxing a fly out and inducing a double play to end the game.
The Wildcats got back into the winning column by knocking off the Hawks on April 2 in Franklin. Kisamore closed out the contest by slugging a three-run home run in the bottom of the fifth. He also picked up the pitching victory, allowing two hits and striking out three in the victory. Kisamore finished with two hits in the contest.
Allden Rexrode also notched two hits and three runs batted in for the Wildcats. Cameron Beachler had two hits and an RBI.
In the nightcap, Yokum employed six pitchers in the 14-7 loss. He said Pendleton trailed 6-3 before South Harrison pulled away.
Kisamore had a run-scoring triple and Jayden Roberson had two RBIs. Landon Colaw added a double in the defeat.
Pendleton trailed Pocahontas 14-0 heading into the top of the fifth inning before plating four runs. Gabe Harvey had a hit and Josiah Kimble and Kisamore walked to load the bases. Brayden Beachler slugged a two-run double to score Harvey and Kimble. Colaw knocked in Kisamore with a hit and Roberson grounded into a fielder’s choice to score Brayden Beachler.
“We were struggling when we started the season,” Yokum said. “We were pretty set up with pitching and catching. Now we are trying to find a catcher to replace James.”
Pendleton was scheduled to return to action April 5 against Tygarts Valley, but the game was postponed due to rain. The Wildcats and the Bulldogs were tentatively set to square off the following day in Mill Creek. Pendleton will travel to Baker today to face off with East Hardy. Pendleton will return home Saturday for a doubleheader clash with Spring Mills before playing host to Bath County Monday in Franklin.