The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

College Sports

June 17, 2014

Miners rally late for 2-1 victory

Mike Brosseau squeeze in eighth scores winning run for West Virginia

The fans of the West Virginia Miners are well aware that manager Tim Epling has built his teams around good pitching and good defense. Both of those characteristics were on full display Monday night at Linda K. Epling Stadium as the Miners squeezed by the Lorain County Ironmen 2-1.

The starting pitchers from both teams were tough out of the gate, keeping the game scoreless through three innings with each team managing just one hit.

The Miners manufactured the game’s first run in the bottom half of the fourth inning.

Grant Massey led off with a sharp single, stole second and moved to third on a wild pitch. Ironmen starter Jose Flores did not relent easily, however, coaxing a flyball out and a strikeout. With two outs and runs at a premium, Rob Youngblood stepped in and drilled an RBI single to put the Miners up 1-0.

The lead held until the top of the sixth inning when Cody Semlar led off the inning with a single. Billy Salem hit a ground ball to first baseman Paul Trenhaile, who threw out the runner at second. But the return throw got away, allowing Salem to move to second.

A fly ball out moved Salem to third with two down in the inning when a bizarre play occurred.

Kyle Chantos was hit by a pitch, but the umpire ruled Chantos had leaned into the pitch, bringing him back to the plate. Chantos took advantage and smacked a single to score Salem and tie the game.

David Martinelli looked to put the Miners back on top when, with two outs in the seventh inning, he drove a ball to the left-center field gap. As Martinelli rounded second base, the ball bounced away from the Ironmen outfielders and Epling gambled sending Martinelli racing home. Center fielder Carlos Ortiz found cut-off man Cody Semlar, who threw a strike to the plate and cut down Martinelli.

“I saw it carry off the wall and we had two outs. I felt they would have to make a perfect throw and they made a great play,” explained Epling.

The Ironmen threatened in the eighth on a Carlos Ortiz single that brought in Miners reliever Kyle “Lights Out” Stanley.  

A sacrifice bunt moved Ortiz to second base with one out. Stanley then promptly set down the next two Ironmen on strikes to end the inning.

Ryan Perkins opened the Miners’ eighth with a single down the right field line, and Zach Woolcock followed with a sacrifice bunt to move Perkins to second. Grant Massey then hit a single that moved Perkins, who had to hold to see if the ball cleared the third baseman, to third.

The Miners then executed a perfect safety squeeze when Mike Brosseau dropped a bunt down the first base line. The ball was fielded cleanly and tossed to the catcher. The ball and Perkins’ foot arrived simultaneously at the catcher’s mit, causing the ball to squirt free and allowing Perkins to score the game winning run.

“We work on that every day. Our runner (Perkins) did a great job getting the proper lead. If you get the proper lead, then you can get in there and score,” said Epling.

Stanley recorded two more strikeouts in the ninth to get his first win of the season and move the Miners’ win streak  to two games.

The two teams are back in action again tonight at 7:05 p.m. at Linda K. Epling Stadium. Tonight’s game is “All the Bark without the Bite Night” sponsored by the Raleigh County Humane Society.

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