GRANVILLE, W. Va. – In the wildest series of the season, the West Virginia Black Bears swept the Mahoning Valley Scrappers at home on Saturday and Sunday at Monongalia County Ballpark. The Black Bears took the first game of the series (14-7) after a rain delay pushed Saturday’s game to
GRANVILLE, W. Va. – In the wildest series of the season, the West Virginia Black Bears swept the Mahoning Valley Scrappers at home on Saturday and Sunday at Monongalia County Ballpark. The Black Bears took the first game of the series (14-7) after a rain delay pushed Saturday’s game to just over four hours long, while winning the second on Sunday (7-6) on a walk-off single. To save players from potential injuries, both games ended after the seventh inning.
With the series win, the Black Bears secure their spot at the top of the MLB Draft League with a 24-12-5 record.
Saturday, July 17
On a rainy night at Mon County Ballpark, the West Virginia Black Bears defeated the Mahoning Valley Scrappers 14-7 on Saturday evening.
RHP Kevin Dowdell started the game with three strikeouts in the first inning to allow West Virginia to take the lead early in the second inning. Two walks of LF Breydon Daniel and 3B Jesse Pierce put West Virginia in scoring position, when an error from the Scrappers put 1B Ryan McCoy on first and loaded the bases. A walk for SS Jake Reinhardt and a wild pitch tied the game 2-2, and a walk and a sacrifice out by DH Grant Hussey brought Reinhardt and 2B Kaeber Rog safely across home plate to bring the score to 5-2.
Following a rain delay, the Scrappers tied the game 5-5 in the third inning. West Virginia was able to advance the score by two with a RBI double from Pierce to score Daniel. The following play, RF Amari Bartee made it to first on an RBI error to bring the score to 7-5.
The Black Bears continued their scoring run in the fourth when C Shawn Vazquez singled to score Rog, and a sacrifice out by Daniel scored Hussey and increased the lead to 9-5. However, the Scrappers continued to fight back and added two more runs in the top of the fourth and fifth innings.
Mahoning Valley’s rally came to a screeching halt in the sixth inning. In a wild turn of events, two Scrappers position players entered the game as relievers. OF Jason Nall took the mound in the bottom of the inning due to a lack of fresh arms. In his first appearance as a pitcher this season, Nall gave up four runs to the Bears, walked four batters and hit one more before being pulled. He was relieved by INF Yo Yo Nunez who gave up another two-run RBI single to Rog to bring the score to 14-7.
Pitcher Tyler Grauer entered the game in the top of the seventh and recorded three strikeouts to retire the Scrappers. During the 7th inning stretch, the managers decided to save the pitchers they had left and called the game after 6.5 innings.
Sunday, July 18
In the series finale, the Black Bears took the game and the series in the most surprising victory of the season. After sending in pitching coach, Jake Hale (1-0) in the top of the seventh inning, the Bears walked it off in the bottom of the inning on a two-run RBI single from C Ranko Stevanovic. In accordance with the MLB Draft League and in consultation with both teams’ managers, the game ended after seven innings.
The Scrappers struck first Sunday after putting two runs on the board in the top of the first and third innings off starting pitcher J.P. Massey. In his third start, the righty from Minnesota finished with four hits, three runs, four strikeouts and one walk.
West Virginia finally found its way across home plate when 1B Grant Hussey launched a ball past the home bullpen wall for a home run. The Parkersburg, W.Va., native notched his third homer on the season and cut the Scrappers lead to 3-1. 2B Christian Lucio continued the rally with a triple that sailed into centerfield and was just missed by the Scrappers’ outfielder, before making the trip home off a double from RF Amari Bartee. The Black Bears ended the inning when Thomas struck out but not before cutting the lead 3-2.
Mahoning Valley scored on an RBI double that bounced off the right field wall to get one more in the top of the fifth inning. However, a couple strong defensive plays from 3B Kaeber Rog held the Scrappers to one run as they headed into the bottom of the inning down 4-2. Mahoning Valley managed to tag on two more runs in the sixth and seventh innings off RHP Mason Studstill and pitching coach, Jake Hale, who entered the game due to a post-Draft stunted roster.
Then in the bottom of the seventh inning, West Virginia made the most surprising comeback of the season. A two-run RBI single brought home Thomas and McCoy to cut the lead to 6-5. After a walk of Lucio loaded the bases with two outs in the bottom of the seventh, the Black Bears walked it off with another two-run RBI single driven hard into centerfield by Stevanovic.
Hale, the 35-year-old coach from Albany, Ohio, took the win on Sunday afternoon. Hale entered the game with the Bears trailing 5-2, retiring three batters while giving up only one hit – a home run to Scrappers 1B Jason Hinchman.
The Black Bears hit the road on Tuesday to take on the Frederick Keys in a three-game series before returning home on Friday, July 23 to face the Scrappers again. Friday night’s game features the third post-game fireworks date of the season.