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McCune’s go-ahead single lifts Hawks to win over Buccaneers in playoff opener

MORGANTOWN – Buckhannon-Upshur scored a pretty good punch, but University had the perfect counterpunch as the Hawks topped the Buccaneers 5-3 Monday night in the first round of the Region I, Section 2 tournament at Shilling Field.

Trailing 2-0 entering the third inning, Buckhannon-Upshur (10-14) took the lead with a three-run rally when Jerin Westfall hit a two-run single with the bases loaded and Wyatt Mason came home on a wild pitch , putting BU 3-2 ahead.

UHS (16-13) quickly got two outs in the bottom of the third, but knew the counterpunch was coming. Duke Seggie and Brock McDonough both reached on a missed third strike and a walk, bringing up Brance McCune.

McCune, the Hawks’ No. 9 hitter, fought until he struck out. Needing to protect the plate, McCune swung at a pitch that was high and outside, but hit it hard enough to get it under the third baseman’s glove and bring home both Seggie and McDonough.

“Get the bat on the ball and hopefully get the runs,” McCune said of his approach at the plate. “I hit a ball over my head, but it worked.”

Mason McDonald then doubled to McCune to give UHS an insurance run and a 5-3 lead.

“That was a big turning point in the game,” UHS coach Brad Comport said. “I think our two-punch approach was really good all night, just fighting and fighting. We did a really good job of battling that down the line and those were both really big runs for us.

The Buccaneers seemed to have an answer in the top of the fourth inning, as they loaded the bases with just one out. That forced UHS starter Riley Anderson out of the game as he switched places with shortstop Brodee Latocha.

Even though he was no longer on the mound, Anderson still got a chance to clean up his own mess when Latocha’s first pitch hit the ground, right to Anderson, who stepped on second base and threw to first base for the double play that ended the inning. .

“Riley, fresh off the hill, finds him first and eventually he helps us get out,” Comport said. “That was a very good turn and another very big turning point and that put a lot of momentum our way.”

Not only was that Buckhannon-Upshur’s last scoring threat, it was also the last runner on base as Latocha finished the game with 2.2 perfect innings and one strikeout.

Anderson took the win with a final line of three runs in 4.1 innings on seven hits and three strikeouts. Anderson had just two career starts on the mound before starting the Hawks’ playoff opener on Monday.

“We tried him a little bit in a relief role early in the year, but due to some injuries, Riley ended up being settled as the starting pitcher,” Comport said. “He’s had a few starts so far, both were good, but nothing of the magnitude of a sectional match. I’m just really proud of him and the way he came in and attacked the zone.”

Mason started for BU and pitched well, allowing five runs in six innings on six hits and three strikeouts. He walked only twice, but UHS made him pay both times when McDonald walked to take the lead in the bottom of the first inning and came home on a single by Latocha. University’s other early run came on an RBI groundout by McDonough, which scored Max Cash in the bottom of the second.

The loss puts Buckhannon-Upshur in the losers bracket and will host Preston in an elimination game today.

The University advanced against No. 1 seed Bridgeport today at 5:30 p.m

“You always want to get the first win, but we know we have a very tough task (Tuesday),” Comport said. “They’re a great Bridgeport team, we know how good they are and we’ll have to bring our A-game.”

BOX SCORE
University 5, Buckhannon-Upshur 3
BU 000 300 0 — 3 7 1
UHS 110 300 x — 5 6 0
BUCKHANNON (10-14) — McDaniels 4 0 2 0; Jev. Westval 4 0 0 0; Marble 2 0 1 0; Yes. Westval 2 1 1 0; Parsons 2 1 2 0; Spratt 3 0 0 0; Bricklayer 2 1 0 0; Jer. Westval 3 0 1 2; Rive 3 0 0 0. Totals 25 3 7 2.
UNIVERSITY (16-13) — McDonald 2 1 1 1; Latocha 3 0 1 1; Campbell 2 0 0 0; Chaney 3 0 0 0; Anderson 2 0 0 0; Cash 3 1 1 0; Seggie 3 1 2 0; McDonough 2 1 0 1; McCune 3 1 1 2. Totals 23 5 6 5.
2B: UHS (McDonald, Seggie)
WP: Anderson 4.1ip, 3r, 7h, 3bb, 3k
LP: Mason 6ip, 5r, 6h, 2bb, 3k
SV: Latocha 2.2ip, 0r, 0h, 0bb, 1k

Bridgeport 10, Preston 0
BRIDGEPORT – Bridgeport made quick work of Preston in the first round of the Class AAA Region I, Section 2 tournament, 10-0 in five innings on Monday.

A low seven runs in the third round spelled doom for the Knights, who managed just two hits in the game.

BHS pitcher Ben Bifano allowed only three baserunners and also issued a free pass.

Preston will travel to Buckhannon-Upshur for an elimination match, while Bridgeport will host University in the winners bracket.