CLARKSBURG, W.Va. — Just how successful this season is for Moorefield’s baseball team will ultimately be determined by how the Yellow Jackets fare at next week’s state tournament.
But Moorefield took a big step toward defending its Class A state championship on Tuesday, as the Yellow Jackets held Notre Dame in check to claim a 7-1 victory at Frank Loria Memorial Field.
One night after MHS (25-11) blanked the Irish (24-11), Derek Hoyt tossed a complete game six-hitter to help the Yellow Jackets complete a two-game sweep in the Region II series.
“Hoyt’s been in big situations and he kind of thrives in that type of situation, and everybody behind him follows that,” Moorefield coach Wade Armentrout said. “The defense feels good and they know he’s going to throw a lot of strikes so they can stay awake and be ready.”
Notre Dame hurt its cause early when it was unable to capitalize on a pair of prime scoring opportunities.
The Yellow Jackets committed two errors in the first inning but escaped unscathed, and MHS took a 1-0 lead in the second when Jaydon Moore singled to score Caden Kimble with two outs.
In the home half of the second, Hoyt allowed back-to-back singles to Gabe Lopez and Ethan Hager with one out. But Lopez was picked off at second base during Justin Frazier’s at bat, before Frazier could produce ND’s third straight single. With runners at second and third, Hoyt got Garrett Collins to pop out to shortstop to keep MHS in front.
“The baserunning errors really cost us. If we get those runs early in the game like we should have, it changes the whole outlook of that game,” Irish coach John Calvert said. “But you have to tip your cap to Moorefield. That’s a heck of a club, defending state champs and they have a good shot of winning it again.”
The Irish managed their only run of the game in the third. Sam Romano doubled to left on a misplayed fly ball and scored on Sam Snider’s sacrifice fly, allowing the Irish to tie it at 1.
But ND left another runner in scoring position that inning, and trailed the next time it came to bat after Matthew Jenkins scored on a wild pitch with two outs in the top of the fourth.
Hoyt retired the side in order in the fourth and Moorefield took control of the game in the fifth.
Brent Moran and Isaac VanMeter had consecutive one-out singles, and after Moran moved up to third on a passed ball, he scored on Hayden Baldwin’s ground ball to third that resulted in an error.
Jenkins singled with the bases loaded to bring home VanMeter and up the lead to 4-1, and Baldwin scored from third on Blake Watts’ ground ball back to the mound after Frazier elected to take the out at first base.
“When you have a 1-0 lead in the series, you want to try to put a team away as early as possible and we let them hang in there,” Armentrout said. “They had confidence all the way up to that point and once we got the lead they kind of fell down a little bit.
“Our guys keep building on that momentum and they know when one good thing happens they can build on that. We’re really good about putting mistakes behind us and just battling through and going on to the next play.”
Moorefield added more insurance in the sixth. Moore led off with a double and crossed the plate on Moran’s groundout to short, while Baldwin doubled to center to score Coleman Mongold for what proved to be the game’s final run.
Hoyt retired the side in order in the sixth and worked around a leadoff single from Lopez in the seventh to go the distance.
Moran and Moore each had two hits to key the Yellow Jackets’ nine-hit attack.
Lopez had two of his team’s six hits in defeat.
Hoyt struck out four and did not issue a walk.
Frazier threw six innings in defeat, scattering nine hits, issuing two walks and striking out three.
ND finished with only two runs in three losses to Moorefield this season.
“We just couldn’t catch a break this series,” Calvert said, “and when we caught a few early in the game today, we didn’t take advantage of them. It cost us.”