NEW MANCHESTER — After falling into an 11-1 hole, the Oak Glen baseball team got out its shovels, but even after putting up seven runs in two innings, it couldn’t dig itself out, losing 16-9 to Weir in Game 1 of the West Virginia Region I, Section I Tournament on Tuesday.
Despite the loss though, Bears coach Lou Nagy found out one thing by game’s end — Weir can be beat.
Now all he has to do is convince his team of that before Game 2 set for 4:30 p.m. today.
“We can hang with them, is what I think. We can play ball with them,” the coach said. “Now I got to get these guys to believe it.”
Early on Weir looked unstoppable, and starting pitcher Nick Vangilder felt it.
Vangilder, who was charged with the loss, started things off by walking two batters before Steve Buffo scored on a Matt Nagy fly out to get the Red Riders on the board.
With one still on, the Bears pitcher loaded the bases before being relieved by Sam Hoyt after recording just one out.
Even after the pitching change, Weir continued to play strong, finishing the first inning with five runs before adding six more in the second frame.
“We dug too deep of a hole,” Nagy said. “The first couple innings we couldn’t throw strikes (and) that’s what set the tone, but they didn’t quit. I’m proud of them for that.”
After batting through the lineup in the first inning, Buffo started things off in the top of the second by knocking a triple to deep center field. Chris Bittenger brought Buffo home on a single to left field. Buffo added two singles and two RBIs on the day to lead the squad.
Red Rider coach Bill Magnone was pleased to see his team start so strong, but felt that they lost its fight, something he didn/t see from the Bears.
“I think once we jumped out to the lead we just sat back,” he said. “The Oak Glen kids didn’t quit. They just kept coming at us and battling.”
The Bears started fighting back in the bottom of the fourth.
With the bases loaded, Sam Hoyt got the late push started with a single to left field that scored Troy Eckleberry and Shane Koper to make it a 14-3 game. Anthony Travaglino followed Hoyt’s lead by bringing in two runners on a grounder that made its way past Pat Duke at shortstop.
Hoyt led the Bears with two hits and three RBIs. He also pitched three innings, allowing eight runs on six hits. Seth Barnhart finished things out on the mound for Oak Glen, going 3• innings and giving up three runs on four hits.
Oak Glen’s comeback run continued into the fifth inning, when Hoyt brought Matt Shenton and Eckleberry in for the score with a double to left field to make the score 14-7.
“To be completely honest all I was thinking was get an out, get an out,” Magnone said of his feelings during the Bears late push. “Just get the outs anytime we could ... and hopefully we could stop the comeback before it got even closer.”
And that’s exactly what his team did, they provided a hole too deep to dig out of.
For Weir, Buffo got the win after pitching two innings. He was relieved by Cody Davidson who gave up four of Oak Glen’s runs as did T.J. Morgan in 2• innings of work. Joe Sadler finished things out on the mound for the Red Riders.
Red Riders 16, Golden Bears 9
Weir High 562 101 1 — 16 12 3
Oak Glen 010 431 0 — 9 10 2
WEIR: Buffo WP (2ip, 0h, 1r, 5bb, 2k), Cody Davidson (1 2/3 ip, 5h, 4r, 3bb, 4k), T.J. Morgan (2 1/3 ip, 5h, 4r, 1bb, 3k), Joe Sadler (1 ip, 0h, 0r, 0bb, 1k).
OAK GLEN: Nick Vangilder (2/3 ip, 2h, 4r, 3bb, 0k), Sam Hoyt (3 ip, 6h, 9r, 3bb, 1k), Seth Barnhart (3 1/2 ip, 4h, 3r, 1bb, 1k).