“This is the first game of the season today”
That was the words West Virginia Miners manager Tim Epling expressed to his team before Saturday night’s game with Terre Haute. The words seemed to hit home with his team as the Miners snapped an uncharacteristic six-game losing streak with a 6-5 win over Terre Haute on Military Appreciation Night at Linda K. Epling Stadium.
“I think it was good the way we played, it doesn’t matter what the batting average was in the past,” Epling said. “Tonight starts everything off.”
Entering the night at the bottom of the Prospect League batting statistics, the Miners banged out 12 hits, with 10 coming off starting pitcher Austin McPheron who had allowed just 15 all season.
The Miners opened quick with two runs in the bottom of the first inning, getting two hits and a RBI single from Westyn Baylor. The second came with the bases loaded when David Sheaffer was hit by a pitch.
Terre Haute responded with two runs in the top of the third inning and three more in the fifth inning. The majority of the damage being done by hard-hitting third baseman Grayson Atwood.
Atwood just barely missed a home run when he smacked a two-RBI double in the third and collected two more RBIs with a single in the fifth. Kaden Moore later drove in Atwood with a single to give the Rex a 5-2 lead.
The Miners, who seemed much more aggressive all night at the plate, responded immediately in the bottom of the fifth inning with solid fundamental baseball.
Mike Brosseau beat out an infield single and Paul Trenhaile was hit by pitch. Paul Sheaffer executed a perfect sacrifice bunt on a tight inside pitch to place runners at second and third.
Rob Youngblood made the most of his opportunity driving a single to left center to score both runners. With two outs David Martinelli singled and the Miners were in business again with runners on the corners. Grant Massey promptly blasted a double that scored Youngblood and Martinelli for the eventual game winning runs.
The Miners pitchers faced two threats down the stretch and both involved the red-hot Atwood.
With two outs in the seventh and a runner at third base, manger Tim Epling called time to speak with his pitcher Trevor Conn. In what looked like a situation to pitch around Grayson, Conn went right after Grayson recording a key strikeout to preserve the lead.
Atwood came to the plate again in the ninth with a runner at third and Miner’s reliever Kolin Stanley on the hill. Stanley also challenged Atwood recording the strikeout to end the game.
Epling explained his thinking in both situations. “ We are going to go at them, I don’t want to take the aggressiveness away, we are not going to be passive. We have to make them earn (the win). We have always done that.”
The Miners have today off and are back in action Monday night when they host the Lorain County Ironmen at 7:05 p.m. at Linda K. Epling Stadium.
W.Va. takes 6-5 win over Terre Haute
“This is the first game of the season today”
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