Burg wins a wild one: Pirates top Falcons behind 10-run sixth


Pirates top Falcons behind 10-run sixth

By Jacob Smith - [email protected]



Minford junior Adam Crank (5) slides past Wheelersburg senior catcher Cooper McKenzie (5) during the Falcons’ and Pirates’ first meeting of the 2022 season on Friday.

Minford junior Adam Crank (5) slides past Wheelersburg senior catcher Cooper McKenzie (5) during the Falcons’ and Pirates’ first meeting of the 2022 season on Friday.


Jacob Smith | Daily Times

Wheelersburg senior Cooper McKenzie (5) and sophomore Landon Hutchinson (21) chest bump during the Pirates’ 10-run sixth inning in Friday’s SOC II home game versus Minford.


Jacob Smith | Daily Times

Wheelersburg sophomore Connor Estep (4) allowed one earned run in five innings on the hill for the Pirates in Friday’s SOC II home win over Minford.


Jacob Smith | Daily Times

WHEELERSBURG — The baseball scoreboard at the Wheelersburg High School wasn’t ready to deal with the offensive outburst the Pirates put together in the sixth inning of Friday’s 15-7 win over Minford.

Trailing 7-5 entering the home half of the sixth, the Pirates needed a rally to remain a contender in the SOC II regular-season race.

Wheelersburg answered the call — sending 14 batters to the plate and scoring 10 runs.

The Pirates didn’t need to bat in the seventh, but a run was added to the seventh inning scoring column — because the sixth frame could only hold nine runs.

The victory gives the Pirates their first over Minford since April 12, 2019 — and more importantly, leaves them as a contender for the league title.

“After a bad taste in our mouth in a great game with Valley, we knew that if we wanted to stay in the race for the SOC, we had to win this one. Especially on our home field. For our guys to be resilient and do everything they did and battle, it’s awesome,” ‘Burg coach Derek Moore said. “You have to give Minford a lot of credit — they didn’t give up. It was just our day to get a few more hits and make things happen.”

A pair of two-RBI hits by the Pirates’ No. 3 and No. 4 hitters — senior Cooper McKenzie and sophomore Isaac Bockway — gave Wheelersburg the lead at 9-7.

In the sixth, ‘Burg scored five runs with no outs, a run with one out, and four more with two outs.

Seniors Hunter Thomas and McKenzie and sophomores Creed Warren and Connor Estep all reached base twice in the 10-run sixth — and scored seven of the Pirates’ 10 runs in the frame.

Before the outburst from Wheelersburg, Minford captured their first lead of the game.

A five-run top of the sixth put the Falcons in the driver’s seat at 7-5.

A two-RBI single from Falcons senior Levi Coriell broke a 5-5 tie with two outs and put Minford in front by two.

Adam Crank’s RBI-single got the Falcons’ scoring in the sixth started, scoring J.D. Matiz from third.

Aodhan Queen drew a bases-loaded walk which brought their deficit within a run — until in their next at-bat Mason Book plated a run and tied the game at 5-5 with an RBI-fielder’s choice.

Coriell was in line for the win when he took the mound in the bottom of the sixth, but exited the game with an apparent injury.

“It was a big inning offensively.We did what we had to do at the plate — good approaches, got guys on with walks, just played the game how it’s supposed to be played,” Minford coach Anthony Knittel said. “We come back in the bottom and Levi (Coriell) pulls his hamstring again, it’s an injury we’ve been dealing with all season. We haven’t been able to get him going and that’s been a big factor. Our guys sub in and start walking guys, eight walks — you can’t do that. We give way too many free bases up.”

Connor Estep helped keep the Falcons in check — allowing two runs (one earned) in five complete innings on the hill on seven hits.

Sophomore Landon Hutchinson closed the door in the final one-and-one-third innings, earning the win after the Pirates’ 10-run sixth put him in line for the decision.

“You’ve got to give Connor (Estep) a lot of credit. It was a spot start, we told Connor this is the game you’re going to get and he took the challenge on,” Moore said. “Five great innings and he threw really well. We know Jake (Darling) will keep working and bounce back and be better than what he was. Landon (Hutchinson), have to give credit. Coming in cold turkey and finishing that inning against their lineup and helping us get the bats out was huge.”

After a scoreless first inning, Wheelersburg plated three runs in the bottom of the second to take an early edge.

An RBI by Thomas and a two-RBI single by Warren put the Pirates up 3-0.

In the top of the third, Minford’s first three base runners reached.

The Falcons appeared as if they had a first run when junior Noah Martin crossed home plate on a ball hit by Queen and a ‘Burg fielding error.

However, the lead runner in Martin was ruled out by the umpiring crew — on a call of Knittel assisting the runner past third base.

Two more outs at the plate for the Falcons meant their first run would wait until the fourth inning.

Both coaches were asked about the impact of this call in the early stages of Friday’s contest.

“That play (umpire) he said I assisted the runner, basically pushed him home, which I never did. Never touched the runner, was probably five or six feet from the runner in the coaches’ box. I was waving him home, not sure if he thought I touched him or seen it differently,” Knittel said. “That kid scored at home, and we had no outs. We would have scored one run with no outs, middle of the lineup. That just killed the momentum, killed the inning.”

“The crew we had tonight have done a lot of three-man baseball games. Did it help us? 100-percent. I trust them to make the right call,” Moore said. “If it was against us, it would have been tough so I know his pain right now.”

Wheelersburg (6-4, 6-1 SOC II) remains in second place in the SOC II race with one game remaining (vs. Northwest) in their first leg of the league schedule.

The Falcons (5-5, 5-3 SOC II) remain tied with Waverly (7-3, 5-3 SOC II) in the league standings after the completion of their first round SOC games.

“I hate to use the term that we’re young. But we’re starting two seniors and seven sophomores. To be able to do that, these guys never really panicking was huge. Tonight was a huge growth moment for us,” Moore said. “Last year was tough losing all three to Minford. To be able to get a win in the fashion we did, it was fun to watch. We know we’ve still got a lot of work to do for the next one.”

***

BOX SCORE

Minford 0 0 0 1 1 5 0 — 7 11 2

Wheelersburg 0 3 0 0 2 10 X — 15 14 2

Minford hitting

Noah Martin 1-4, R, BB

Adam Crank 3-4, 2R, RBI, BB

Aodhan Queen 1-2, R, 2RBI, BB

Mason Book 1-4, RBI

Branson Alley 0-3

Levi Coriell 1-1, 2RBI

Jacob Lewis 1-3, BB

Cole Borland 0-3, R, BB

J.D. Matiz 2-4, R

Carson Cronin 1-4, R

Wheelersburg hitting

Creed Warren 2-4, 2R, 3RBI, BB

Connor Estep 2-4, 2R, RBI

Cooper McKenzie 3-4, R, 2RBI, BB

Isaac Bockway 1-4, R, 2RBI, BB

Jake Darling 1-4, R

Cole Estep 2-4, R, 3RBI

Caden Conn 1-3, R, BB

Landon Hutchinson 0-2, 2R, 2BB

Hunter Thomas 2-2, 2R, 2RBI, 2BB

Pitching

Noah Martin (M) 4.2IP, 6H, 3ER, 2K, 5BB

Levi Coriell (M) 0.1 IP, 0H, 2ER, 0K, 2BB

Branson Alley (M) 0.2IP, 4H, 5ER, BB (L)

Jacob Lewis (M) 1H, 0ER

Connor Estep (W) 5IP, 7H, 1ER, 1K, 2BB

Jake Darling (W) 0.2IP, 3H, 5ER, 3BB

Landon Hutchinson (W) 1.1IP, 1H, 0ER, 1K, 0BB (W)

Minford junior Adam Crank (5) slides past Wheelersburg senior catcher Cooper McKenzie (5) during the Falcons’ and Pirates’ first meeting of the 2022 season on Friday.
https://www.portsmouth-dailytimes.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/28/2022/04/web1_IMG_8425.jpgMinford junior Adam Crank (5) slides past Wheelersburg senior catcher Cooper McKenzie (5) during the Falcons’ and Pirates’ first meeting of the 2022 season on Friday. Jacob Smith | Daily Times

Wheelersburg senior Cooper McKenzie (5) and sophomore Landon Hutchinson (21) chest bump during the Pirates’ 10-run sixth inning in Friday’s SOC II home game versus Minford.
https://www.portsmouth-dailytimes.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/28/2022/04/web1_IMG_8447.jpgWheelersburg senior Cooper McKenzie (5) and sophomore Landon Hutchinson (21) chest bump during the Pirates’ 10-run sixth inning in Friday’s SOC II home game versus Minford. Jacob Smith | Daily Times

Wheelersburg sophomore Connor Estep (4) allowed one earned run in five innings on the hill for the Pirates in Friday’s SOC II home win over Minford.
https://www.portsmouth-dailytimes.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/28/2022/04/web1_IMG_8353.jpgWheelersburg sophomore Connor Estep (4) allowed one earned run in five innings on the hill for the Pirates in Friday’s SOC II home win over Minford. Jacob Smith | Daily Times
Pirates top Falcons behind 10-run sixth

By Jacob Smith

[email protected]

© 2022 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved

© 2022 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved