Barton, Weirton all square in OVBL Championship Series
MINGO JUNCTION — The Ohio Valley Baseball League championship series quickly became a best-of-3 following Thursday night’s Game 2 at the John Muth Recreational Complex.
Top-seeded Barton scored a pair of runs in the fourth and fifth innings before tacking on four insurance markers in the seventh as it evened the best-of-5 format at a game apiece by doubling up Weirton, 8-4.
“These guys don’t get down. The first year we won a championship we scored so many runs with two outs,” veteran Barton manager Billy Timko offered. “Sure we lost Game 1 last night, but it didn’t faze these guys. They bounced right back tonight and now we’re even going back home Sunday.”
Each team has now won on the other’s home field with Game 3 scheduled for Sunday at 1 p.m. back at Pramesa Park’s Henning Field in Crescent.
Trailing 2-0 after three innings, the Braves (16-7) used Ryan Bernard’s two-out, two-run double down the rightfield line to even the score. The hit plated Tyler Blomquist and Bailey McGrath. Both had extended the inning with singles, although McGrath’s probably should have been caught as it dropped between a pair of third-seeded Bobcats (12-10).
“They hit the ball hard tonight but we should’ve caught that one ball that eventually led to two runs,” Weirton player/manager Jacob Rosnick said. “We’ll bounce back Sunday.”
“You never know who is going to step up in our lineup on any given night,” Timko said of Bernard, who also keyed the late outburst with a two-run single.
Bernard said he’s just glad to help out.
“It feels nice. I’m seeing the ball really well right now,” Bernard said. “We needed this win really bad.”
Tyler Blomquist paced Barton’s 11-hit attack with a trio of singles that drove in three runs. It was his two-run single in the seventh that provided the winning run. McGrath added a RBI double to his single.
Ben Taylor pitched into the sixth before leaving with the bases loaded and two outs. The former Wheeling Park and current Fairmont State pitcher struck out six and walked three before departing in favor of Eli Petho. All Petho did was strike out the league’s hottest hitter — Larry Bielewski — to end the rally. Bielewski had homered in six straight games before going 0-for-3 Thursday night.
“Ben did a good job. We stayed with him as long as we could,” Timko noted. “Eli came in and slammed the door. That was a huge strikeout to end the sixth.”
Petho said he was just doing his job.
“Every player in this league was a star in high school and some in college. I think everyone on our team would’ve wanted the ball in that situation because we are all competitors.”
Rosnick led Weirton with two singles, a double and RBI. Chris Gillette, the losing pitcher, singled, doubled and drove in two runs, one coming on a sacrifice fly. Elijah Gillette also singled and doubled.
Barton will send Tyler Blomquist to the mound Sunday. Weirton will counter with Michael Mills.
Game 4 will be played on Monday at a site to be determined. Game 5, if needed, will be back in Crescent on Wednesday. Both games will start around 6.