Lafferty, Weirton headed for Game 3
LAFFERTY – The Lafferty Dodgers arrived at their home field in community park Friday night with their eyes set on reaching the championship series of the Ohio Valley Baseball League.
However, Darren Heatherington and Weirton, the second seed, had other ideas.
After falling to the Dodgers on their home field in Hancock County on Wednesday, the Red Dons touched up Cameron Smith, who no-hit Neffs last Monday, for six runs and then had to hang on for a 6-3 victory.
“We didn’t play our all-around game today,” said Lafferty leader Jordan Barbina. “Usually, we’re able to make up for that in other areas, but we lacked in some of those areas and now we’ll have to come back Sunday.”
The decisive Game Three will be held Sunday night at approximately 8:30 p.m. at Cove Field in Weirton. The game had to be pushed back because Weirton’s field is in use all weekend by the Beast of the East. There was discussion of playing the game in Lafferty or even playing Monday, but both squads agreed for the prime-time game under the lights.
The winner of Sunday night’s encounter will meet Maynard, which completed its two-game sweep of the top-seeded Wheeling Cardinals on Friday in Belmont County.
“We put this team together to have fun and try to make a run at the finals,” Barbina said. “We’ve had a lot of fun so far and we’ll see about the other part.”
Barbina will hand the ball to Travis Stephens on Sunday night.
The game was scoreless through four, but Weirton got its offense going in the fifth with a four spot.
Red Dons’ player-manager Eric Sperlazza delivered the big hit of the inning when he roped a double to the left-field fence.
Rudy Nagy drove in a run later on a sacrifice fly and Lafferty committed all three of its errors in the frame, which led to two additional runs.
Weirton tacked on two insurance runs in the seventh, which looked like it would be plenty for Heatherington, who had allowed only three base runners in the first six innings.
However, southpaw, who graduate from Steubenville High, seemed to run of gas in the seventh and lost his comand.
Lafferty scored all three of its runs in its final at-bat and had only one hit. Heatherington walked five in the inning. Roger Herbert, Zeke Wharton and Myron Jellison all had a RBI on a walk.
Sperlazza went to the pen and brought in Russell, who threw one pitch to induce a fly out to earn the save.
“We were a little bit too anxious (against Heatherington) because we were hitting the ball hard, but right at them,” Barbina explained.
“We didn’t strike out very often, but he threw a lot of strikes and they made plays (defensively).”
The Dodgers also lost their composure more than they’ve been accustomed to, which is something that Barbina knows must be addressed.
“I don’t know if we were uptight because it was a game to advance, but we have to do a better job of keeping each other loose,” Barbina said. “We’ve done that all year.”
Weirton 000 040 2 – 6 8 0
Lafferty 000 000 3 – 3 2 3
Batteries: Heatherington, Russell (7) and Fluharty. Smith, Jellison (7), Jellison and Herbert (5).