By Gary Fauber
Assistant Sports Editor
With a little more than two weeks left in the regular season, the West Virginia Miners find themselves in pretty good position in the race for the Prospect League’s East Division pennant.
But things could get a bit hairy for manager Tim Epling. Of course, what else is new?
The Miners return to Beckley tonight for the start of a two-game series against Lorain County. First pitch at Linda K. Epling Stadium will be 7:05 p.m., while Sunday’s game will begin at 5:05 p.m.
West Virginia (30-16) is four games ahead of Chillicothe after a series sweep of the Paints. The Miners defeated Chillicothe 5-0 Friday to become the first league team to 30 wins.
All-star Pat Kregeloh hit a three-run homer in the fourth for the Miners. Josh Galvan added a solo shot in the fifth and was also hit by a pitch with the bases loaded in the sixth.
Winning pitcher Quinton Yocom limited the Paints to four hits over seven innings.
Injuries and various other problems have served as road blocks for the Miners all season. Going down the stretch, Epling faces even more challenges.
The main culprit is injuries, which have been piling up.
Catcher Robert Tavone has not played since July 11 because of torn cartilage in his right (throwing) wrist and might not be back. His absence leaves Galvan — who has been hit four times since his debut last Friday — as the lone catcher, with first baseman/designated hitter Cameron Balough as the emergency backstop.
Infielder Griffin Moore has been sidelined with a back injury, but he could return today. Third baseman Zach Woolcock pulled a groin muscle last Friday against Slippery Rock and missed Wednesday’s All-Star game. He could be back as early as Sunday.
Then there’s outfielder Nick Paxton. He hit the first-ever grand slam at Epling Stadium last Saturday against Slippery Rock, and his three-run shot at Chillicothe on Thursday provided the difference in an 8-5 win. He’s not injured, but he will be returning home July 25.
n n n
Tonight will be Scouts Night at the stadium. Any Boy Scout, Girl Scout or Cub Scout wearing a uniform will be admitted free. It will also be KISS-FM Night, with plenty of free giveaways.
Fans can also register to win tickets for Wet ’n’ Wild Adventures.
Sunday will be Kroger Night. Any fan who brings a can of Kroger food will receive $1 off his or her ticket.
Limit one per person.
n n n
Epling will return to the team tonight after missing both games in Chillicothe because of family concerns ... Right-handed pitcher Joshua James has joined the team. The sophomore at Western Oklahoma State College will likely see action out of the bullpen Sunday.
— E-mail: gfauber@