Magnolia scored a run in the top of the seventh to complete a 7-6 comeback and win its baseball season opener over Paden City, March 28 in Wildcat Country.
In the opening stanza, the Eagles' Grant Cain reached first with the game's first base hit and sprinted to second on a Wildcat error. Zach Willhoite singled, but Cain stumbled trying to score and stayed at third. However, the Wildcats would get out of the jam on a double play.
The Wildcats' Hayden Hizer singled and stole second to start the Wildcats' home half of the first. He then raced to third on a passed ball. Levi Meadows walked and went to second on a wild pitch, while Luke Cooper got a free pass to load the bases. The hot hitting Zach Heasley, who was 8-8 in the season to this point, singled in Hizer, while Meadows touched home when Michael Wilcox hit into a fielder's choice. Craig Allen lined a single to right center to score Cooper, but Isaac Hall tipped a liner to centerfield that doubled-off the runner at second to end the frame and a 3-0 lead.
Neither team scored in the second, but the Eagles tallied two runs in the top of the third. After a walk and another Paden City error, Willhoite would would clear the basses with a stand-up double. A wild pitch moved Willhoite to third, but after a swinging third strike got away from Wilcox behind the plate, he would gobble it up and nip the runner at first. However, Willhoite attempted to tie it up, trying to score on the throw. But Heasley heaved it back to Wilcox at home to get the out and keep Willhoite from scoring.
Paden City's Cooper walked and would later score on a Wilcox single. Heasley also walked and, after a double steal, the 'Cats' Andrew Dennis scored Cooper on a single up the gut.
Magnolia's Chase Miller came in relief of the starter Willhoite and got out of the frame without any more damage, as Paden City continued to lead 5-2 after four innings of play.
Derrick Blain got on for Magnolia on another Wildcat error, then scored on a Nick Priem double. Paden City's Cooper settled down and got out of the third without any more damage.
In the fifth, Hizer took the hill in relief of Cooper and walked the first batter. Willhoite singled, scoring Cain, who earlier went to second on a passed ball. But, the Wildcats would get out of the fifth when an MHS pinch runner was dead on arrival at home on a nice play by the Wildcat defense.
In the bottom half, Heasley singled for his 10th hit of the season, but a nice double from Jake Starkey to Brandon Mason to Willhoite ended the Paden City inning without any damage.
In the top of the sixth, a pair of walks caused Paden City Head Coach Brent Croasmun to bring in the Wildcats' senior closer, Kyle Postlewait, who got an infield fly for the first out. But, Tyler Anderson and Mason both added RBI singles to knot the game at six.
Hall singled for Paden City in the home half of the sixth, but a strikeout, a fielder's choice, and a ground-out ended the sixth with the game tied up.
Cain reached base for the fourth straight time on a walk. He then moved into scoring position on a balk and scored the game winner on a swinging strike out that got away from the Paden City catcher.
Willhoite later got his fourth hit of the game.
With Magnolia in the lead 7-6, Paden City went down in order, with Heasley being put out for the first time in the season after 11 straight plate appearances and 10 base hits. Willhoite led the way offensively for Magnolia with four hits, including a double, while knocking in three runs. Cain singled and scored three times, while reaching base on all four plate appearances. Priem added an RBI double, while Anderson and Mason each knocked in a run on a single. Blain singled and scored twice, while Drew Keller scored twice.
For the Wildcats, Heasley singled twice and plated a run, while Wilcox, Allen, and Dennis each singled in a teammate. Hizer, Cooper, and Hall each added singles.
Willhoite started and stuck out two for Magnolia, while Miller struck out four to gain the nod. Cooper started and iced two for the Wildcats, while Hizer sat down one on strikes. Postlewait took the loss with a strike out.
Union Local 5,
Magnolia scored three runs in the bottom of the seventh, but it was a little too late, as the Union Local Jets defeated the Blue Eagles 6-5 March 29 in New Martinsville.
Chase Miller tripled and singled twice, while knocking in two runs. However, five Magnolia miscues turned the tables and the Jets went on to spoil the Eagles' home opener.
Jake Starkey took the loss from the rubber, limiting Union Local to six hits, while striking out five and walking a pair. Priem added a pair of hits for Magnolia.
The Eagles visits John Marshall tonight at 5 p.m. and Monroe Central tomorrow, before hosting Madonna April 5 a noon.