TENNERTON — Head Coach Jason Westfall and his Buckhannon-Upshur Middle School Baseball Team (7-6) played host to the Tucker Valley Middle School Wildcats this past Wednesday, May 4.
The Bucs got on the board first, after holding the Wildcats scoreless in the top of the first inning, Haiden Tenney hit a line-drive single to left field in the bottom of the first, freeing up Dawson Tenney to score.
Tucker Valley responded with a pair of runs in the second inning to take a slight 2-1 lead heading into the third inning.
In the bottom of the third, the Bucs scored three runs to regain the lead, 3-2 heading into the fourth inning. The Bucs extended their lead to 4-2 after Jerin Westfall belted a line drive single to left field, allowing Aiden Squires to score.
Up 4-2 after four innings of play, it seemed as if the Bucs had the game under control, however the tables quickly turned as Tucker Valley seized control of the lead following a five run explosion in the fifth inning. After trying to game up at 4-4, Tucker Valley’s Grayson Sypolt singled on a 1-1 count driving in two runs to break the stalemate. While Buckhannon-Upshur stayed in the game until the bitter end, Tucker Valley never looks back following that late offensive push, using that run to pull away late to seal a 7-6 victory over the Bucs last Wednesday.
Despite the loss, coach Westfall and his Bucs have plenty positive takeaways to build upon. As a team, the Bucs were seeing and hitting the ball rather well, slightly outhitting the Wildcats by collecting eight total hits compared to seven total hits from Tucker Valley over the course of this back and forth, high-scoring affair.
Parker White received the starting nod on the mound for the Bucs. The young righty pitcher allowed six hits, seven runs, while striking out seven Wildcat batters over the spam of five innings pitched. Haiden Tenney Was subbed in from the bullpen to relieve White. Tenney only allowed a single hit, while striking out three Wildcat batters in the span of two innings pitched.
Offensively, Jerin Westfall went 3-for-5 at the plate to lead Buckhannon-Upshur in hits. Not just a pitcher, the versatile White led Buckhannon-Upshur with two stolen bases, as the team ran wild on the base paths with eight total stolen bases.
The heartbreaking close loss amounts to another learning experience for coach Westfall’s team as they continue to search for consistency. This talented group of young men have competed at a very high-level all season long, despite some early season concerns surrounding the lack of experience and in-game reps these players have gotten due to all many challenges the COVID-19 pandemic has posed over the better part of the last two years. In time, once this group finds consistency, there is no ceiling for the heights they could reach in the future.