The Bottom Line
By Bill Nestor
The Bridgeport Indian baseball program has been one of the best in the state of West Virginia ever since Robert Shields took the reigns.
This year’s edition earned a pair of wins this past week and is just two victories away from a second consecutive state championship. It would also be the third for Shields at the school and it would further his legacy as one of the best high school coaches in state history.
The Tribe started regional play with a 10-0 win over Liberty on Tuesday. After a scoreless first inning, Bridgeport surged ahead 3-0 after Elijah Drummond blasted a three-run homer in the bottom of the second. The Indians grew their lead by plating two more runs in the bottom of the third.
Liberty had their chances with two runners on base in each of the first four innings. However Indian hurler, Sammy Aloi would work his way out of trouble on every occasion.
The “big hit” aided the Tribe as three of their five hits were of the extra base variety. Hunter Fain was 2 of 3 with a double and two RBI’s. Joe LaRocca also had a double for Bridgeport.
Aloi claimed the win with Hunter Haddix working the last inning in the shortened contest.
Michael Drummond paced the Mountaineers at the plate. Drummond was 2 for 2 in the affair. Ty Wickline suffered the loss for Liberty. The Mounties ended the season with a 16-12 mark.
After a day of rest, Bridgeport took a lengthy road trip to Short Gap to earn a 16-5 win over Frankfort on Thursday.
The Tribe started the game with three straight hits en route to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning. However, they would have to play from behind for the first time since the opening game of the tournament as the Falcons would plate four runs in their first at bat.
After a scoreless second from Bridgeport would reclaim the lead for good with a five run third inning followed by six more runs in the fourth and three in the fifth to put an end to this one early.
The Tribe exploded for fourteen hits but only one of them was an extra base effort, which was a double from Elijah Drummond. Drummond was one of three Indians to record three hits in the outing. Dante Bonamico and Joe Dodrill were also 3 of 4 from the plate. Hunter Morris was 2 for 3 with a game high three runs batted in. Joe LaRocca scored a game high three runs in the affair.
Logan Smith started on the mound for Bridgeport and threw the first two runs of the contest before giving way to Jared Cleghorn. Cleghorn pitched the last three innings without surrendering a run. His control was spot on allowing just one hit, striking out a pair, and giving away no bases on balls!
Bridgeport will appear in its fourth straight state tournament. They will face Pike View in the second game on Friday at approximately 12:30 p.m. They will enter play in Charleston with a 35-3 record.
That will do it for now. Until next week…take care and God bless!