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Linsly debuts with triumph over Bellaire

WHEELING – It may have been over a year since Coach Jay Cartwright’s Linsly baseball team had played a game before Tuesday afternoon, but the Cadets sure didn’t miss a beat in their 2021 season-opener against a young, but talented Bellaire team.

Linsly excelled in all facets coming out of the game with excellent starting pitching, powerful hitting and great fielding in rolling to a shortened victory over the Big Reds.

Kobe Hill was nearly perfect on the mound for four innings, allowing just a walk and a single while fanning six and walking one, while the Cadets put their first eight runners on base, batting around and scoring six first inning runs, in cruising to a 12-2, five-inning, triumph over Bellaire at Holloway Field.

“We really had a great pre-season,” Cartwright said with a smile. “And it was a luxury for me as a coach to be able to teach the game for four weeks before starting the season. These kids came out here every day, worked and enjoyed what they were doing getting ready for this. It’s just great to be back on the baseball field again.”

After Hill had set the Big Reds (1-6) down in order to start the game Linsly came to the plate with a purpose.

Hill was hit by a pitch to get things started before Zac Taylor singled to right to put runners on the corners. After Taylor took second, Hunter Kelley ripped a two-run double down the left-field line, which was followed by a Brodie Selmon single to left that plated Kelley, before Selmon was thrown out trying to stretch the hit into a double.

With one out Gionni Ferguson worked a walk with Adam Och and Trey Prather each following with RBI doubles before Collin Powell blasted a run-scoring triple to deep center. That was it for Big Reds’ starting, and losing, pitcher Chance Maffee before Lex Wilhelm entered in relief and fanned the ninth and 10th batters of the frame to stop the bleeding at 6-0.

However, as good as the first two hitters went for Wilhelm, he struggled coming back out in the second, issuing three consecutive walks on 3-2 pitches to load the bases. Ferguson brought home the first run of the inning with fielder’s choice before Och’s bloop double to right plated the second and Linsly made it 9-0 on a two-out base hit from Paull.

Kelley added a sacrifice RBI in the third with Alex Taylor bring home the final Cadet run with a sacrifice fly in the fourth.

Bellaire was able to take advantage of Hill being removed to start the fifth, getting three consecutive hits, including RBI singles from Kaden Banal and Andrew Lamotte, but Kelley managed to avoid any other trouble and got out of a jam to end things.

“Kobe (Hill) is such a competitor and has three pitches he can really command,” Cartwright added.

“And he is a tough kid that got hit by a pitch in his first at bat and then fouled a pitch off his foot on his second trip but kept on going.

“Again, these kids have been working hard. We had a good scrimmage last week and seen some good arms against Wheeling Park and these kids have had to hit off of our pitchers as well, which isn’t easy. I also have a great group of assistant coaches that know the game and work so well with our players.”

Kelly finished with a double and three RBI while Och doubled twice and push across a pair and Paull and Prather each had two hits and two RBI.

“I think sometimes games like these can be beneficial when you look back on them,” Bellaire Coach Josh Kernik said. “We had a 10-run loss earlier this season and the second time we played that team we lost 3-2.

“Our biggest problem is that we really don’t know how talented we are, and the kids are still trying to get experience and learn. I don’t use the young kid reason anymore because I’ve seen too much from this group and know what they are capable of. It’s all a matter to getting our mental state equal to our skill level.”

Bellaire will take on St. Clairsville this afternoon while the Cadets welcome Weir High to Holloway Field today and Brooke on Thursday.

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