Wildcats lose heartbreaker in sectional final
The Paden City Wildcats started Sectional play with a 10-run mercy-rule victory over the Valley Lumberjacks, 12-0, on May 12 at Paden City Park.
Josh Bennett and Wes Cosper made it very difficult for the Lumberjacks to get the bat to connect on their pitches. Bennett started and tossed the first three innings, striking out five and walking one, while Cosper finished the final two frames to gain the nod from the mound. Cosper struck out two and didn’t walk a batter. The two hurlers limited the ‘Jacks to a pair of singles and a double.
A hail storm had halted play on May 11 to force the sectional opener to be played on May 12 in the bottom of the first frame. Valley started the game with a ground out and Cody Bates walked a stolen second, but didn’t get any further. Cosper, Ricky Wright and Malakai Anderson each walked to open the bottom half of the first for Paden City.
After a fly out, the ‘Cats went to work. Chaz Heasley chased home Cosper and Wright with a single and Chris Loy brought home Anderson on a fielder’s choice. Heasley scored the final tally of the inning to give the home team a 4-0 lead after one inning of play.
Valley sent five batters to the plate in the second, including runners in scoring position, but failed to score. Michael Hornbeck was hit by a pitch and Ring singled for the only baserunners of the inning.
In the bottom half, Paden City’s Zack Yost began with a walk, then stole second and scored on a Cosper single. Wright smashed a single and Cosper scored on a Malakai Anderson sacrifice fly.
Bennett struck out two of the three batters he faced in the third to retire the side. Bennet then started the bottom half with a single. Keith Kline singled and he and Bennett both stole a base. Cosper plated Bennett and Wright brought home Kline on back-to-back singles.
Cody Scott got on base to start the fourth for Valley and made his way to second on a steal. Cody Bassett reached on a fielder’s choice and was replaced by Travis Villers as courtesy runner. Villers made his way to second and Garrett Ueltschy got on base on a fielder’s choice. Ring belted a ball to the outfield and Villers was thrown out at home on a close call to end the inning.
Paden City scored three insurance runs on four hits in the bottom half of the fourth and, in the fifth, Valley went down in order in to end game one of the sectionals.
All 10 of the Paden City starters scored, with Heasley, Cosper, Bennett and Wright each getting two hits to lead the way offensively.
Freddie Guthrie started for the ‘Jacks on the mound, struck out one and walked five, while Bates finished up and struck out two.
Bennett started and struck out five and walked one, while Cosper mopped up with two innings of relief work, struck out two and was credited with the win.
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Chris Loy led the way for the Paden City Wildcats on May 14 at Cameron High School for the Region I Section II baseball playoffs. Loy homered three times and walked once to lead the Cats to a 23-7 victory to force a deciding third and final game.
Other ‘Cats coming up with hits in Game 1 were Wes Cosper, two singles; Ricky Wright, who homered and scored three times; and Malikai Anderson with two doubles and two singles and four RBIs.
Rounding out the hitting were Mitchell Stewart and Zack Yost with two singles and Michael Stewart with an RBI. Josh Bennett got the win from the mound, striking out three and walking seven in the six inning game. The ‘Cats also benefited from eight Dragon errors.
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Game 2 was also played Thursday. The Wildcats and Dragons battled back and forth to see who would be crowned sectional champion. In the end the Dragons won 8-7.
In the top of the first, Cosper reached on a error by the shortstop and then scored when Anderson doubled with one out. Ryan Thoburn then walked, but the inning came to an end with a double play. However, it was not before Anderson crossed the plate to make the score 2-0, ‘Cats. The Dragons countered with two runs in the bottom of the first to tie the game at 2-2 after one.
Chris Loy singled to start the second, but was put out at second when Bennet singled. Bennet then was caught too far off the base and got tagged for the second out. Stewart and Yost walked and were chased home by Cosper when he doubled for two RBI’s to make it 4-2 ‘Cats after one and a half.
The Dragons were able to score on a error by Loy at first which brought home the leadoff batter who had singled to start the inning. The next batter then got out to end the inning 4-3 ‘Cats after two.
After Paden City stranded a base runner in the top of the third, the Dragons took advantage of it by scoring two runs in the bottom of the third to take a 5-4 lead. Neither team mustered any offense in the fourth inning.
In the bottom of the next frame, the Dragons got a lead off homer to go up by 6-4. But the fifth ended with a Draggon base runner stranded on first.
In the top of the sixth, Loy doubled with one out and scored when Yost walked with the bases loaded. Cosper then doubled to score Bennett, who had walked earlier, but he was cut down at the plate by a nice throw from the short stop. Wright then grounded out to short to end the inning.
In the bottom of the sixth, the Dragons got two runs on Wildcat errors and another run off a two-out single to go up 8-6 entering the last inning.
To start the seventh, Anderson reached base on a error by the shortstop and later scored when Thoburn grounded out to short.
After Chaz Heasley struck out, Loy kept the ‘Cats’ hopes alive as he reached on an error by the third baseman, but a strikeout by Bennett ended the game.
Hitting for the game came from Cosper, who doubled and had two RBIs; Anderson and Heasley, who both doubled and plated an RBI each, and Loy, who delivered a double.
The Dragons will now face the Section I champion Weirton Madonna.