WHEELING, W.Va. – After watching a two-run lead slip away in the bottom of the seventh inning, Morgantown rallied for three runs in the top of the eighth and defeated Wheeling Park 7-4, earning its first trip to the state tournament since 1976.
“They’ve been resilient all year. People come back on us and tie the game like they did, a lot of teams would fall apart but with these guys, they play for each other. They’re just keeping fighting back when someone gets them down,” said head coach Mark McCarty.
The Mohigans (21-8) battled from behind twice against Wheeling Park. With the game tied at 1-1 the Patriots took the lead in the bottom of the fourth inning. A leadoff walk came around to score, giving Wheeling Park a slim 2-1 lead.
Morgantown’s offense answered in the top of the fifth as the Mohigans were able to get runners on base, get them over and get them home. Morgantown loaded the bases with nobody out after a lead off walk and a pair of perfectly placed bunts prevented the Patriot defense from getting an out.
Andrew Berry tied the game with a sacrifice fly to center. That was followed by an RBI single from Michael DeFelice and a sac fly off the bat of Zane Gallagher.
“We got the bunt down and used our speed. We like that speed we have,” said McCarty.
The Mohigans took the 4-2 lead into the seventh inning when Wheeling Park’s offense sprung to life.
After a one out walk and a base hit, Justin Delbrugge delivered a two-run single to tie the game at 4-4 and send it to extra innings.
Morgantown loaded the bases again in the top of the eighth and plated the go-ahead run on a two walk to Conner Kelly. Andrew Berry followed by driving in two more runs on a two-out single to give the Mohigans the 7-4 lead.
It got interesting in the bottom of the inning, as Wheeling Park was able to bring the tying run to the plate, but Morgantown shut the door and ended the game on a double play.
“We’d always like to win easier, especially at my age,” said McCarty. “But we’ll take it the way it happens.”
Ethan Stewart earned the win on the mound for Morgantown, pitching the final inning. Conner Kelly, who was the starting pitcher for the Mohigans, was lifted in after six innings of work.