BLUEFIELD — PREP BASEBALL
Oak Hill sophomore pitcher Noah Miller recovered from a shaky start and his Red Devils teammates backed him up with nine runs, but off-and-on rain at Bowen Field eventually forced their game with Bluefield to be suspended.
The Red Devils led 9-4 in the top half of the fourth inning when the game was halted due to slick conditions on the pitching mound and around home plate.
The game will be resumed “at a later date,” the coaches said, in combination with another seven-inning game between the Beavers and their familiar opponents from Fayette County.
The start time had been pushed back to 11 a.m., but the action began even before that in an effort to miss the bulk of the rain.
Bluefield’s first three batters, Devon Goins, Marcus Santoro and R.J. Bourne, all got singles off Miller. Justin Lightfoot’s sacrifice fly to center field brought home the game’s first run and Randy Maxey doubled to left to give the Beavers a quick 3-0 lead.
Oak Hill caught fire in the second inning after a potential Bluefield double play was not quite in time at first base for the third out.
The Red Devils proceeded to load the bases, and Daniel Pritt’s long double to center field brought the three teammates home to highlight a six-run inning.
Dominick Buzzo drew a walk to begin the Bluefield second inning, and R.J. Bourne brought him to the plate with an infield hit with two outs to trim the margin to 6-4.
Bluefield’s Trevor Mullins initiated a 6-3 double play to help the Beavers get out of the scoreless third inning, and Miller and Oak Hill sat down their hosts in order in the bottom half.
Oak Hill’s head coach Chad Quesenberry said about Miller, “Noah’s a battler. He’s got good velocity, struggles with his breaking ball sometimes, but he’s a competitor.
“He didn’t get rattled, he settled in. Actually, after the first inning, he came in and said, ‘I figured something out. I was doing this, I was doing that.’ And that was it. He’s a ball gamer.”
Maxey, the Bluefield starter, unintentionally hit Richard Epperly in the back of his batting helmet in the fourth, and Austin Harler and Corey Comer followed with back-to-back doubles.
Justin Carter took over on the mound but both Harler and Comer scored as the rain picked up. The home plate umpire then sent the players off the field.
They returned only long enough to shake hands with their opponents. Umpires, coaches and players stared at the rain-slick and chopped-up top of the pitcher’s mound during the rain delay, and the umps and coaches made the joint decision to call it off for the day.
As the teams left their dugouts and headed for the gates, a couple of peeks of sunshine appeared. “Wouldn’t you know it,” said a Bluefield player.
— Tom Bone, Bluefield Daily Telegraph