‘Cats Chop Down ‘Jacks, 2-0
Paden City baseball appeared in two different forms on Thursday and Saturday as they shutout two teams in a rare-weekday double header before being blanked in an OVAC semi-final.
After a Wednesday game against Valley was postponed because of rain, it was moved to Thursday evening, despite Bellaire St. John already appearing on the schedule. As a result, the game against the Irish was moved up for a 4 p.m. start with the game against the Lumberjacks starting around 6:30 p.m.
In the opener, Paden City easily outmatched St. John, winning 8-0. The Irish didn’t put up much of a fight, but that’s because Wildcats’ senior Wes Cosper wouldn’t let them.
Cosper took to the mound and proceeded to fire a complete game no-hitter and become the third Wildcat player this season to accomplish that feat. He also struck out 14 batters, with 10 coming against St. John’s first five hitters.
His teammates aided him in the field and at the dish. The ‘Cats didn’t allow a single error on defense while the sticks pounded out nine hits and took advantage of four walks and three Irish errors to provide the offense.
Paden City was able to pounce on the opponent early, as Malakai Anderson led off with a single before advancing to second on a wild pitch. Later, Ryan Thoburn would single, moving Anderson to third, then steal second to set up Cosper.
Cosper cracked a single, knocking in the two baserunners. He would eventually score on an RBI by Chaz Heasley after a pair of 6-3 fielder’s choices.
The Wildcats scored again in the second when Keith Kline reached on an error and eventually scored on a single by Thoburn.
In the third inning, Paden City added two more runs when Heasley and Doug Shepherd, serving as a courtesy runner for catcher Chris Loy, circled the basepaths with Kline getting an RBI.
Paden City would close the scoring in the game in the fifth when Mitchell Stewart belted a double to left field and scored shortly thereafter. Anderson followed with another single and was hit in by Ricky Wright.
Even with the hits generated, Head Coach Brent Croasmun wasn’t satisfied. “The bats weren’t going as good as I’d like them to. We were kind of out on our front foot a little bit and not timing the ball up very good,” he commented. “I think part of that is because we haven’t played all week long and the kids’ timing is a little bit off. But we had excellent pitching and we didn’t have any errors, so sometimes you have to win by pitching and defense. We did have eight runs, but I would have liked a little better hitting.”
One thing that caused some concern was the number of runners stranded on base. “I know several innings we left the bases loaded or runners on second and third with two outs and just didn’t get the big hit you need to score a lot of runs. But we did enough to get the job done and we’ll be happy with a win,” added Croasmun.
Anderson finished 3-4 and scored twice, Thoburn was 2-4 with a run scored, and Cosper went 2-3 with a pair of RBI while scoring a run.
Wright tallied an RBI, as did Heasley, in addition to his hit and run scored. Shepherd, Kline and Stewart all scored while Stewart added a double.
PADEN CITY 2,
In the nightcap, it took the Wildcats a few innings to score, but again it was the pitching that made the difference.
Josh Bennett also went for a complete game shutout striking out 12 while giving up only four hits and two bases on balls to keep Valley at bay.
Paden City’s runs came in the fourth and fifth innings with Loy and Anderson crossing the plate. Loy reached on a base on balls before advancing on an error and scoring on a single by Kline.
Anderson reached after laying down a bunt that hugged the third-base foul line and proceeded to steal second and third before Cosper hit him in with a sacrifice fly to left field.
Anderson was 1-3 with a run scored. Thoburn was 2-3, Cosper scored a run, Heasley recorded a base hit and Loy scored a run. Meanwhile, Bennett reached on a single, as did Kline, who also had an RBI to round out the Wildcats’ scorecard.
Leading the way for Valley was Cody Scott with a pair of singles, while Henderson was the hard-luck losing pitcher from the mound with seven strikeouts and a free pass.
“I have to give their pitcher a lot of credit,” Croasmun complimented. “Alex Henderson pitched an excellent ball game. He had a little bit of an offspeed pitch to keep us off balance. He had good location, stayed ahead in the count sometimes and struck a few batters out.
“We had to manufacture runs, but again, we didn’t have any errors and didn’t give up any runs, so I’m happy with the way both pitchers, Wes Cosper and Josh Bennett, pitched tonight.
“You don’t take any team for granted because in this crazy game of baseball, anything can happen on any given day,” Croasmun added.
“We hit the ball straight at them and they made plays except for a couple times tonight. Henderson pitched against us the first time we played them and beat them 9-2. I think our hitting is a little better than theirs but they’re capable of beating us. There is no question about that.”
PADEN CITY 0
Paden City ran into a very talented and athletic Weirton Blue Dons squad in the semi-finals of the OVAC tournament last Saturday. There wasn’t much the Wildcats could do, as Madonna pitcher George Magnone fired a three-hitter.
Anderson provided two of the hits for the Wildcats.
PADEN CITY 2
Controversy influenced the outcome of a contest between two OVAC and Mason-Dixon Conference members. But when the smoke cleared, the Dragons went home with a 7-2 win.
After tying the game in the sixth with a couple of runs, Cameron used a five-run rally in the eighth to set up the final score.
Paden City made a rally of their own by loading the bases for Ryan Thoburn. The controversy came after he hit what appeared to be a grand slam according to the field umpire, but the home plate umpire overruled and called it foul.
Thoburn received the loss after throwing an incredible 18 strikeouts. He pounded out two hits from the plate with a single and double.
Anderson tallied three hits on the day with two singles and a double, while Cosper and Kline each hit for a single and an RBI with one run coming in the fourth and the other in the fifth.
Up next for Paden City will be Magnolia April 29 at 5 p.m. in Paden City.