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Wellsburg Holds On vs. Moundsville

photo by: Nick Henthorn

Moundsville Post 3’s Tommy Clegg connects with a pitch in the third inning of Monday’s game against Wellsburg Post 34. Post 34 took a hard-fought 8-7 victory on the field at John Marshall High School.

MOUNDSVILLE – Two outs, bottom of the seventh, bases loaded, it’s a scenario baseball players dream about- swap out the seventh for the ninth on certain levels of competition- and it’s the situation Wellsburg Post 34 pitcher Hunter Mozingo found himself in on Monday against Moundsville Post 3 at John Marshall High School.

In a game that saw four lead changes heading into the bottom of the seventh, Moundsville loaded the bases against Mozingo, who had taken over in the sixth inning from Caleb Billick. Donovan Jones, Kaden Knapp and Jayden Astipalitis all reached, but Mozingo had picked a runner off at first base and induced a fly out to center for two of the three outs Wellsburg needed. With the deciding batter up to the plate, Mozingo punched out his opponent to give Post 34 their first win of the season, an 8-7 win over Post 3.

“He was on. He had a good attitude going into the game, and usually when his knuckleball’s working like it was today, he does really well,” Wellsburg head coach Micah Knisely said. “He’s done fairly well against Moundsville consistently every year. This is the game he wanted. I was closing it with him.”

Wellsburg had stung Moundsville for four runs in the first inning, the latter two runs coming after Garrett Moore and Mozingo scored on a wild pitch which was compounded by an error on the subsequent throw to the plate.

“The start’s always important,” Knisely said. “We haven’t been playing really well so far this year. Pitching’s been pretty good but our defense has struggled and we have not hit the ball. So to come out like that and put up four in the first, that was big for us to set the tone.”

“The top of the order got on, got over and got in. That’s what you need.”

Moundsville stormed back over the next three frames, scoring six unanswered to lead 6-4 heading into the fourth. Tommy Clegg sent up a sacrifice fly in the first, Jacob Cisar slugged a two-run double in the second, Hayden Hughes scored on an errant throw in the third to tie the game 4-4 and Knapp shot a two-run double to right center to take the lead with two outs in the inning.

“I think we did a great job of getting on base and running around, stole some bases,” Moundsville head coach Izac Babiczuk said. “Twelve hits is good, we take away the five walks and four errors and it’s a different ballgame.”

Wellsburg’s Robbie Henderson scored in the top of the fourth after a series of unfortunate events by Moundsville. With runners on first and second, Post 3 threw down to first base after a pitch in an attempt to throw out a base runner who’d taken a large secondary lead. The runner at first was safe diving back to the bag, but the runner at second had broken for third. The throw across the diamond from first to third was errant, and Henderson took home to trim Moundsville’s lead to one run, 6-5.

Tryton Myers hit a sacrifice fly in the top of the fifth to tie the game 6-6. Henderson ripped an RBI double to right field later that inning to give Wellsburg the lead back.

Moundsville answered back with the bat of Astipalitis, who doubled to left field to score a run and tie the game. The to-and-fro continued in the top of the seventh, Wellsburg’s Aidan Lathem hitting a double in the right-center gap to bring home the go-ahead run, 8-7.

Mozingo sealed the game on the mound- but not before treating those in attendance to plenty of drama on the way to the win.

Wellsburg next plays Wednesday, while Moundsville is off until Friday.

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