Magnolia Belts Tyler, in Section II Championship
Magnolia sophomore Silas McKeever and junior Patrick Mirandy each belted home runs, and each player scored and had at least one hit in leading Magnolia to a 17-11 win for its first Region I, Section II championship since 2003. The baseball action happened May 17 at Tyler Consolidated High School.
“I’ll give credit to my guys. We swung the bats well,” said Magnolia Head Coach Dave Cisar. “It’s not so bad when a freshman and a junior hit the ball out.”
The Blue Eagles scored their first run in the first when Patrick Mirandy belted Knights’ pitcher Luke Daugherty first pitch for a single to open the game. After stealing two bases, Mirandy was chased home on a Billy Nice ground out for a 1-0 lead.
The Knights’ Dylan Roberts one-out bloop single got the Knights off the Eagles’ Jake Gamble, but would be trying to steal second by Billy Nice, and would go down 1-2-3.
A seven-run second stanza was started when Silas McKeever singled, followed by a Dalton Pritchard was HBP, and both moved into scoring position with a Jared Kocher bunt single to load the bases. The Eagles’ left fielder Eli Nice then singled in a pair of teammates with a single.
Matthew Gaiser moved runners into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt, with Mirandy knocking in a run on a fielder’s choice. Gamble, Billy Nice and Leo Herrick each drove in a run with back-to-back-to-back singles, while McKeever was HBP. Pritchard then knocked in a run with a sacrifice-fly for the final run of the inning to give Magnolia an 8-0 lead.
The Silver Knights threatened in the bottom half, but left two stranded with one in scoring position.
Magnolia upped its advantage by one in the top of the third when Gaiser drove one to the fence for a stand-up double and moved to third on a Mirandy base-hit, and scored on a Gamble ground-out to give the visitors a 9-0 lead.
However, the Tyler boys got on the board in the bottom half with a three RBI double by Noah Smith and scooted home on a Magnolia error to cut their deficit to 9-4 heading into the fourth frame.
The Dave Cisar bunch tacked on three runs in the fourth when Herrick opened with a single and scored on a McKeever two-run home-run. Pritchard reached off a hard liner to left that was ruled an error, and would later score on a Gaiser single to give Magnolia a 12-4 lead.
Tyler and Magnolia didn’t get anything going in the bottom of the fourth and top of the fifth, before the Silver Knights added a run in the home-half of the fifth, with the help of two walks and a Noah Smith fielders-choice, scoring Tyler West, to make the score, 12-5.
Pritchard got the Big Blue back into the scoring column when he singled, and raced to second on a strikeout, and came all around to score when the catcher throw ended deep in the out field for a two-base error. Eli Nice was then HBP and stole second, while Gaiser followed with a walk, and Mirandy cleared the bases on a three-run home-run to give the Eagles a 16-5 lead.
Tyler Consolidated scored two runs on Kyle Mason’s first-ever home run, and threatened for more, with the help of singles by Dylan Roberts and Luke Daughtery and a Gage Huffman HBP by Tyler West that load the bases to knock Gamble out of the game.
Coach Cisar went to Mirandy to stop the bleeding, and the junior right-hander would strike out Noah Smith with the bases juiced to end six innings of play, with the score now reading, 16-7.
In the top of the seventh, Herrick drilled a stand-up double and stole third and scored an insurance run on a Kocher single.
The Knights opened the home half with a double, Garry Seckman reached on an error, and Jacob Rice singled home Seckman. Mason walked to load the bases and Tyler West cleared the bases with a three-RBI double for all the Knights runs.
“In high school baseball, sometimes the score is 17-11 and sometimes it’s 1-0, but as a guy once said, a win is a win,” added Cisar.
The victory went to Gamble. He struck out three and walked five, while Mirandy mopped up struck out three and walked one in an inning and one-third.
Every Magnolia starter scored at least one run and drove in just as many. They were paced by Mirandy, who homered, single twice, and plated four runs, while scoring four times. Gamble singled and doubled, while knocking in two runs. Herrick and Gaiser each singled and doubled and knocked in a run.
In addition, McKeever singled and belted a two run homer, while Kocher singled twice and knocked in a run. Eli Nice and Billy Nice each singled and drove in two runs, while Pritchard singled in a run, while scoring three times.
Every Tyler batter scored once, with Mason touching home three times, and belting a single and a two-run home run. Huffman singled and doubled, while Roberts singled twice to lead the 10-hit Tyler attack.
“Our four seniors have been a good group for us,” said Tyler head coach Robby Jones. “They are the winningest group in school history with over 60 wins. They have some things to hang their hats on, but we just couldn’t get it done here.”
In addition, Noah Smith and Tyler West each doubled and drove in three runs, while Rice and Creed Ammons each singled in a run. Daugherty singled, while Seckman scored and stole a base.
Tyler Consolidated finished the season at 13-10 and will lose seniors Luke Daugherty, Dylan Roberts, Kyle Mason and Tyler West.
The win gives Magnolia a record of 12-11 and advances the Eagles to the best of three against the Region I, Section I champions Wheeling Central.
The winner advancies to Charleston for the state tournament.
“Wheeling Central has some very good players. We played well against the last time we played. I respect Central because they have the best Class A team in the valley,” said Cisar. “Everybody knows that, but on any given day, who knows what can happen. We will show up. Baseball is a one-day game and that’s why they play a lot of games.”