MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Class AAA No. 3 Morgantown looked every bit like a team with a 15-game win streak in Monday’s OVAC semifinal against Warren (Ohio).
Caleb Taylor hit two home runs and struck out 11 over five scoreless innings to key the Mohigans to a 10-0 victory at Mylan Park.
“These guys are playing really well right now,” Morgantown coach Mark McCarty said.
Morgantown (21-2) took a 2-0 lead when Taylor hit his first homer, scoring Carter Patrick.
“I was just trying to hit the ball hard wherever it was pitched. Curveball, fastball, it didn’t matter,” Taylor said. “I was just trying to hit it hard.”
An outfield error with two outs allowed Devon Neal to score the Mohigans’ third run after he reached on a single.
The three early runs were more than enough offense for Taylor, who struck out Hunter Vincent to end the top half of the second and strand two baserunners.
Taylor was in further trouble in the third after issuing consecutive walks to Caleb Davis and Seth Dennis to load the bases with one out. However, he struck out Evan Gandee and Kurt Taylor to keep the Mohigans’ three-run lead intact.
“He’s a battler and when it came time to shut them down, he did,” McCarty said.
Taylor helped his cause again with the second home run in the home half of the third — a solo shot that made it 4-0. Colton Matthews’ bunt single plated Neal for the second run of that frame.
“I had the same approach the second at bat,” Taylor said. “I wasn’t trying to hit it out or anything — just hit the ball hard.”
Warren had its best chance to score in the fourth when it loaded the bases with no outs. But after allowing a hit and issuing two base-on-balls in the inning, Taylor struck out three straight to keep the Warriors off the scoreboard.
“Having the bases loaded is kind of stressful, but I was able to bear down and throw strikes,” Taylor said.
A Warren error allowed the Mohigans’ Zach Owens to score his team’s sixth run in the fourth inning, before MHS ended the game early with a four-run fifth.
Ethan Smith had an RBI single, while an error on the play allowed the Mohigans to score a second run. Gavin Cottle crossed the plate on a wild pitch and Patrick’s single to right field scored Smith to end the game early.
Taylor allowed two hits and issued five walks.
Brett Gandee took the loss after allowing five runs on four hits and three walks. He struck out four in defeat.
The Mohigans will play Saturday at Steubenville (Ohio) for the OVAC title.