By Gary Fauber
Assistant Sports Editor
West Virginia’s offense still isn’t setting the world on fire. Then again, with a pitching staff like the Miners have, one run is all that is needed.
The Miners scored an unearned run in the eighth inning to finally back the pitching of starter Kevin Johnstone in a 1-0 win over the Quincy Gems in Game 1 of the Prospect League Championship Series Saturday in Quincy, Ill.
West Virginia is one win away from repeating as league champion. Game 2 of the series is set for 7:05 p.m. Monday at Beckley’s Linda K. Epling Stadium.
The Miners have not allowed a run in 27 innings this postseason. They had a league-high 10 shutouts in the regular season.
After failing to cash in on opportunities early in the game, the Miners finally broke through in the eighth.
Doug Votolato reached on an error to lead off the inning and advanced to third on a single by Josh Galvan. Pat Kregeloh then lifted a fly ball to right. Quincy’s Thomas Richards dropped the ball, allowing Votolato to score the only run of the game.
That was more than enough for Johnstone, the Miners’ opening day starter who hadn’t pitched since West Virginia’s dramatic 4-2, 14-inning win over Chillicothe Aug. 2.
Johnstone worked seven innings for the win, striking out two and walking two while allowing four Quincy hits. He threw just 87 pitches.
Rolando Celis pitched the final two innings for the save. He gave up one hit and struck out four, including the side in the ninth.
Josh Martsching was tagged with the loss, giving up the unearned run.
Quincy starter Aaron Michel struggled but continually got out of jams. He walked six, struck out three and gave up four hits in 5 1-3 innings. He threw 111 pitches.
All tickets for Monday’s game are $5 and can be ordered by calling the Miners office at 304-252-7233, or online at www.wvminersbaseball.com. Fans ages 12 and under get in free.
It will be Pasquales/The Char Night. Fans can register for gift certificates from both restaurants to be given away every inning.
— E-mail: gfauber@