Barcus concerned after Indians lose five-in-a-row
Berkeley Springs baseball team entered last week with a 9-5 record and a ninth place ranking in West Virginia Class AA. Everything was going well and headed in the right direction.
There was still much optimism after the Indians dropped back-to-back games by identical scores of 3-2 to Class AAA powers Martinsburg and Jefferson County. But, the Tribe, which played outstanding games against both the Bulldogs and Cougars, laid an egg in a home double-header to Petersburg, losing by respective scores of 13-3 and 10-6 and then lost a tight road contest to St. Maria Goretti, 4-3, on Saturday, April 28 in Hagerstown, Md.
"We started out the week with two tough losses to Martinsburg and Jefferson," said Berkeley Springs coach Trey Barcus. "Even though we lost both games one would think that we would gain some valuable confidence. That did not happen! The wheels fell off and instead of looking for them or buying new ones, we're sitting on the side of the road hoping that someone would stop to pick us up."
The week opened with the Indians traveling to Martinsburg for a single game with the Bulldogs. Michael Twigg started for the Indians and went 5.2 innings allowing two runs on two hits, walking two and striking out three. Twigg also hit three batters, but pitched a whale of a game, before being relieved by Jacob Waugh who finished the game and was tagged with the loss. Waugh worked one inning without allowing a hit. However, the hard-throwing right hander had some control problems and hit Paul Chenoweth with the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh for the loss.
Chenoweth, Martinsburg's starting pitcher matched Twigg pitch for pitch. The hard throwing Bulldog allowed only two Indian hits, while striking out 15 batters. His only mistake was a fastball to Twigg in the top of the sixth with a runner aboard. Twigg turned on the pitch and drilled it over the right field fence to tie the game at 2-2, before the Bulldogs rallied in the bottom of the seventh for the win.
Waugh singled in the second inning for the only other Berkeley Springs hit.
"Twigg pitched a good game and gave us a chance to win," said Barcus. "When you limit Martinsburg to three hits and lose you have to look at the little things. We had two base running mistakes that cost us big.
The Indians had little time to lick their wounds with Jefferson County coming to town the following day. Jefferson a perennial baseball power in the state of West Virginia came into the game ranked second in Class AAA and a decided favorite to beat their Class AA opponent. But, Berkeley Springs wasn't intimidated and gave the Cougars all they wanted before losing a heartbreaking 3-2 decision.
Early on it looked like Jefferson would dominate, scoring one run in the first and two more in the second, before Nick Campanelli entered the game in relief of Jake Freels, who was having control problems, and put a clamp on the Cougar offense.
"Campanelli did an excellent job in relief and gave us a chance to win," Barcus said. "He had a solid outing and limited Jefferson to only two hits. We just couldn't get the hit when we had to have it."
Jefferson drew first blood with a run in the top of the first, before J.T. Thomas scored on a single off the bat of Jeremy Michael to tie the game at 1-1. The Cougars scored twice in the second inning for a 3-1, before Berkeley Springs scored a single run in the sixth to cut the lead to 3-2. Campanelli led off the sixth with a double and Michael delivered his second RBI of the game with a shot to left-center, cutting the Cougar lead to 3-2.
The pivotal play of the game happened moments later when Twigg singled to right-center field. Michael rounded third and headed for home, but the relay throw from the second baseman got there in time for the Jefferson County's catcher to put the tag on Michael, for what would have been the tying run.
The Indians were unable to rally in the seventh and Jefferson County escaped with the win.
Campanelli went six innings in relief, allowing no runs on two hits, striking out five and walking two.
The Indians out hit Jefferson six to two, with Campanelli, Twigg and Michael getting two hits each.
As Barcus said, the Indians should have gained some confidence by playing two of the top teams in the state down to the wire, but Berkeley Springs sure didn't show it when Petersburg invaded town two days later, April 26, for a varsity double header.
Petersburg jumped on Berkeley Springs 8-0 in the first inning of the opener and then coasted to a surprisingly easy 13-3 win.
Waugh started and worked .1 innings allowing five runs, four earned, on three hits. Mark Carter relieved Waugh and pitched 2.1 innings, allowing five runs on seven hits, walking one and striking out three. LJ Wright relieved Carter and pitched .2 innings allowing one run on no hits while walking two. Thomas pitched the final 2.2 innings allowing two runs, one earned, on three hits, walking two and striking out one.
Michael, Thomas, Lucas Redick, Nathan Sirbaugh, Campanelli and Freels had one hit each. Thomas and Redick had one RBI apiece.
In the nightcap, the Indians scored three times in the bottom of the first for a quick 3-0 lead, but Petersburg took a 4-3 lead with two runs in both the second and third innings off of starting pitcher Nathan Sirbaugh. They then added a run in the fourth, before Berkeley Springs scored three times in the bottom half of the inning for a 6-5 lead.
Petersburg then scored twice in the top of the sixth and three more times in the seventh for the final margin of victory.
Sirbaugh went five-plus innings allowing seven runs, five earned on ten hits. He struck out six and walked two. Campanelli relieved Sirbaugh and allowed no runs on no hits, striking out two and walking one in one complete inning on the mound. Thomas pitched the seventh allowing three runs on three hits with a walk. Sirbaugh was tagged with the loss, his third of the year against two wins.
Campanelli had three hits for the Tribe, a double and two singles. Twigg, Michael and Thomas had two hits each, while Sirbaugh, Griffith and Joey Berens had one hit each. Twigg had two RBI, while Michael and Griffith had one apiece.
"There is nothing positive we can take from these two games," a dejected Barcus said. "We didn't play well and made way too many errors. I think we were feeling sorry for ourselves after losing to Martinsburg and Jefferson, instead of taking out our frustration on Petersburg."
The busy week ended with a 4-3 road loss to Goretti, despite another solid performance on the mound by Twigg. The hard throwing southpaw went the distance allowing four runs on four hits. He struck out seven, walked three and hit one batter. Twigg also helped his own cause with his second two-run home run of the week, but it wasn't enough as the Gaels held on for the one-run victory.
Goretti held a 1-0 lead when Berkeley Springs scored three times in the third to take a 3-1 lead. Campanelli had a run scoring double in the inning and Twigg the two-run home run. The Indians held the lead until Goretti scored three runs of their own in the fifth and then held on for the 4-3 win.
Campanelli had three of Berkeley Springs seven hits, while Twigg, Sirbaugh, Thomas and Berens had one hit each. Twigg had two RBI and Campanelli one.
"We made many changes in the field and the defense was solid," Barcus said. "Twigg was solid again and gave us a chance to win for the second time this week. We had a tough week, but good teams recover from this type of adversity. We will find out this week if we're any good."
Berkeley Springs ends the regular season tomorrow, May 3, hosting Paw Paw in a varsity double header, before entering sectional play next week.