Patriots hold 5-1 lead; play to resume Monday
WELLSBURG – Mother Nature won again.
Although, this time, some baseball was played before the skies opened for a short time.
That brief, but powerful downpour, was all it took to suspend the West Virginia Region 1, Section 1 tournament Saturday between Wheeling Park and host Brooke.
“Look, right now it’s perfect out,” Bruins head coach Ron Ujcich said with a smirk. “It’s five minutes after hail and it’s sunshine.”
The Patriots and Bruins will be back at it at 5 p.m. Monday to finish Game 1, with Wheeling Park holding a 5-1 lead through 5 innings. The teams will then take a short break and play Game 2.
“I’ve never seen weather like this,” said Ujcich, in his ninth year at Brooke. “We had the one year in sectionals that I know we had a cancellation on a Saturday and, due to WesTest, we had to wait four days until we could come back and play JM.
“With the two or three inches we got during the week, this field needed some time to dry out.
“We put a lot of hard work in – we had a lot of dads out here this morning helping and we appreciate them. They put a lot of time and effort in to make sure we could get this game in.
“This problem is, we knew the field couldn’t take much water, and that amount knocked us out.”
Wheeling Park scored three times in the bottom of the first inning for its quick start.
Daniel Baciak started with a solo home run off Brooke starter Mario Lombardi.
Eric Crow singled, moved to second on a passed ball and, two outs later, Justice Jackson delivered a two-run bomb.
“Not the best way to start,” Ujcich said. “But, we didn’t help ourselves.
“We had some baserunning blunders and a couple of defenive blunders. Even though they’re not errors, they’re mental blunders.
“We need to make the plays to get out of innings.”
The Patriots added one in the second. Nathan Hardman reach on a walk and Zane Hummel singled. They were sacrificed up a base and Baciak’s sacrifice fly plated Hardman.
Park made it 5-0 in the third. Michael Grove and Chalmer Moffett singled. Jackson’s double brought in Grove, but Moffett was out at the plate.
“We left a couple stranded when we needed to get base hits with guys in scoring position,” said Ujcich.
Brooke got nothing in the first off a hit by pitch, sacrifice bunt, walk and single by Chad Harper.
Kelaen Welch walked with two outs in the third and Heath Hildreth singled, but that was it.
The Bruins scored in the fifth when Ethan Sole walked, went to second on a passed ball and scored on Russell Schwertfeger’s single.
Schwertfeger eventually wound up at third on two passed ball’s but he was stranded.
“Monday’s another day. We’ll fight through it and see what happens,” said Ujcich.