Colts use solid all-around effort to defeat Hedgesville, 6-3

CLARKSBURG, W.Va. — Philip Barbour baseball coach Jonathon Carpenter is well aware stern challenges await the Colts in the coming weeks as they try to get through sectional play in an effort to extend their season.

That only added to Carpenter’s intrigue to see how the Colts would fare over the weekend in the Greater Bridgeport Classic, which allowed them to play three games against quality out of area competition.

Following an 8-5 loss Friday to Class A No. 1 Williamstown, Philip Barbour responded in just the fashion Carpenter was hoping for Saturday at Frank Loria Memorial Field in its matchup with Hedgesville. The Colts got five quality innings from Alfred Isch, along with three hits from No. 9 hitter Miles Hutzler, and they never trailed in a 6-3 win over the Eagles.

“I’m proud of the boys. We’ve been playing pretty good baseball,” Carpenter said. “Our opponents have definitely been quality, which is going to make us better in the long run, especially being in the section that we’re in. It’s difficult, so we’re going to play teams like this and try to prepare to make a run.”

PB (13-8) jumped on the Eagles early by using an error, Cody Cooper’s single and a hit batsman to load the bases with no outs against Hedgesville starting pitcher Jason Delauter.

However, Delauter was able to limit the damage by inducing a double play to shortstop off the bat of Jesiah Matlick. While Tyler Sisson scored on the play, it was the Colts’ only run in the opening inning.

Hedgesville (15-11) had an opportunity to pull even in the second inning after a one-out double from Tanner Matthew, who abruptly moved to third when Mason Elliott followed with a single. However, Matthew wasn’t in position to tag up on a fly ball to center off the bat off Yadnael Rivera-Sosa resulted in the second out, and Isch got Gage Ganoe to bounce out to first for the final out of the inning.

“Our numbers with runners in scoring position aren’t good,” Hedgesville coach Eric Grove said. “We struggle on offense, and when you can’t maximize your opportunities, you’re not going to win games. I thought they played really well. I don’t know them very well, but they have a good record and it just felt like we didn’t capitalize on any opportunities to score multiple runs in an inning. That’s a failure on offense.”

Philip Barbour added to its advantage in the home half of the second when Hutzler sent a well struck fly ball to left field just out of the reach of the Eagles’ Jaxson Ruest that resulted in a run-scoring double. Tyler Sisson followed with a double that scored Hutzler for a 3-0 lead.

“They found their barrel quite a bit early and late,” Grove said.

Hedgesville got a leadoff double from Christopher French in the third, before taking advantage of the Colts’ only error and a hit batsman to score two runs. The first came on Ruest’s groundout that enabled French to score, before Noah Brown touched the plate on a wild pitch.

However, HHS stranded two runners for the second straight inning and the Colts maintained their narrow advantage.

PB wasted no time adding to its lead as Isch led off with a double in the home half of the third, and after courtesy runner Jacob Harris got to third on passed ball, Jayden Herron’s groundout to short brought Harris home for a 4-2 lead.

Delauter escaped trouble unscathed with the bases loaded in the fourth, and the Eagles got their deficit back to one run in the fifth when Connor Quinn singled with two outs, allowing Braylon Conner to score.

PB stranded two more runners in the fifth, but Cooper worked a scoreless sixth after relieving Isch, allowing the Colts to take a 4-3 lead into the bottom half of the inning.

Hutzler led off the sixth with a double, moved to third on a wild pitch and scored when Cooper sent a ground ball to second base that was misplayed. Matlick delivered a key two-out single to score Sisson later in the inning, allowing PBHS to lead 6-3 as the contest moved to the seventh.

“He didn’t command his off speed well enough to put hitters away and they found holes and hit the ball hard,” Grove said.

Hedgesville threatened in its final at bat, getting a single from Brown and double from Ruest to put a pair in scoring position with no outs. But Cooper never wavered, and after Quinn’s tough-luck out on a liner to third base, he recorded his only strikeout with Matthew at bat, before getting Elliott to bounce out to third for the final out.

Isch allowed three runs on five innings, while striking out one batter and walking one in the victory.

“Alfred has a tendency to try and overthrow sometimes, but he did great,” Carpenter said. “He settled in and hit spots and trusted his defense. We have a lot of inexperienced pieces. He’s starting to trust them a little bit when he’s pitching and letting them make plays.”

Cooper tossed the last two innings and overcame surrendering three hits to throw a pair of scoreless frames.

PB finished with a 10-8 advantage in hits, led by Hutzler going 3-for-3 with a pair of doubles, two runs and one RBI.

“Miles has matured a lot over the last year or so,” Carpenter said. “He’s accepted his role and he’s accepted coach. He’s going to be an integral part of what we’re doing.”

Sisson and Matlick had two hits apiece in the victory.

Delauter logged all six innings on the mound for Hedgesville, striking out four and walking one, while allowing six runs on 10 hits.

French had two of the Eagles’ eight hits and was their lone player with more than one.

Later Saturday, the Colts were unable to maintain their momentum from the victory earlier in the day and they fell to Bluefield, 17-9.

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