The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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June 10, 2014

Kings turn the tables on Miners

Champion City beats W.Va. 4-1

BECKLEY — Baseball championships are won with strong pitching and solid defense. The West Virginia Miners have used that formula to earn back-to-back Prospect League titles.

The Champion City Kings displayed their version of strong pitching and solid defense Monday at Linda K. Epling Stadium to defeat the reigning champions 4-1 in the opener of a two-game series.

Kings starting pitcher Jacob Rodrigue held the Miners in check through 6 2-3 innings of scoreless work, while his teammates built a 4-0 lead over the Miners.

“The biggest part of the game was (Rodrigue) kept the ball down, he kept the ball around the plate and we beat it in the ground,” explained Miners manager Tim Epling. “The kid threw a good ball game. He didn’t walk many. We just have to do a better job of zone hitting.”

Rodrigue threw 93 pitches in the game, 65 for strikes. He allowed just four hits, had six strikeouts and one walk.

The damage done by the Kings came in the first four innings.

After a scoreless first, Chris Perkovich hit a shot to left-center field that was just out of the reach of center fielder Gavin Culler for a leadoff triple. Corey Pool lifted a soft fly ball two batters later for a 1-0 Kings lead.

Miners starter Seth Noreman ran into some control issues in the third, hitting the first two batters. After a single by Jake Bennett, Landon Lucansky singled home Tanner Reibenspies. Perkovich hit a sacrifice fly to make the lead 3-0 before Noreman could escape the jam.

The Kings would add an unearned run in the fourth inning aided by two Miners errors, before reliever Cody Smith shut the Kings down the rest of the game.

The Miners’ only threats came in the seventh and eighth innings when they had runners at first and second base with two outs. Kings relievers Scotty Watson came up with the big out to end the seventh inning, but the MIners pushed one run across in the eighth before Marcus Reyes closed the door.

“Our guys seemed to have their minds made up tonight before they entered the batter’s box. When you do that you are going to swing at bad pitches,” Epling said. “Our game is to score one here, a couple there, just be steady. We need guys to get on base and scrap. That is our game right now.”

The Miners will look for a series split tonight when the two teams meet again in a 7:05 p.m. start at Linda K. Epling Stadium.

It will be Stars of Tomorrow Night. All area high school softball players who made all-state will be honored, as will area middle school baseball players.

Also, all seniors will be admitted for $2.

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