FAIRMONT — In their first game back in familiar territory back Monday, April 4 following a spring break trip to the Ripken Experience tournament in Myrtle Beach, the Buckhannon-Upshur baseball team (3-4) took on the East Fairmont Hornets.
The Hornets drew the game’s “first blood,” scoring a run in the bottom of the first inning after holding the Bucs scoreless in the top of the inning. The Bucs responded by seizing control of the lead in the top second inning, after an error allowed two runners to come home.
The varsity Bucs scored three runs in the second inning. The offensive onslaught by the Bucs was kickstarted by junior Payton Bennett, who’s fly ball single allowed fellow junior, Clint Crites to score. After junior Elijah Bryant was hit by a pitch in the very next at-bat, yet another junior, Zach Calef-Boring, stepped up to bat. Ever the dangerous threat, Calef-Boring smashed a ground ball that was coming in too hot for the Hornets’ shortstop to handle. The error allowed Brayden Hamer and Bryant to score.
After a scoreless third inning held the status quo at 3-1, Bucs advantage; the Hornets scored 3 runs in the bottom of the fourth inning to take a critical, yet slim 4-3 lead into the decisive fifth inning.
Junior Ian Donnen evened the score at 4-4 as he nailed a sacrifice fly to center field, freeing up Isaac Lane to score after tagging up. After picking up quick two outs, it looked as if the Bucs’ defense was going to be able to fend off the Hornets batters for another inning, until a double brought two runs home for the Hornets, pushing them back out front by a 6-4 margin.
Despite their best efforts, the Bucs could not quite complete the comeback, only scoring one more run in the game, coming in a final seventh inning push. Unfortunately, the Buc eventually fell short, 6-4 to drop their overall record to 3-5 for the 2022 season so far.
Head Coach Todd Lane’s team lost the game despite outpacing East Fairmont offensively, with their line-up out-hitting by a margin of 8-4. The trio of Bennett, Lane, and Calef-Boring all had stellar games hitting the ball, with each recording multiple hits for Bucs on the evening.
Junior pitcher Josh Nesbitt took the loss on the mound for the Bucs. The ace only allowed three hits over 4.75 innings, sitting down 6 Hornet batters. Most of the four runs allowed in this game were due to correctable fielding errors. This is an issue that will have to be corrected for the Bucs to return to their winning ways.
On the junior varsity team, Tucker Burr, Landen Marple, Jevon Westfall and Ethan Garvin each collected one hit, as the JV Bucs played the Hornets to a dead even tie following the varsity game Monday night. Westfall also shined from the mound, throwing 11 strikes on only 15 pitches, striking out every batter he faced after being subbed in from the bullpen for the final inning.