PARKERSBURG - Eli Gray twirled a one-hit shutout for host Parkersburg Post 15 here Wednesday at City Park during a bizarre 4-0 game one American Legion triumph against Athens Post 21.
Jake Howman's single to start the third inning was the only hit Post 21 managed off Gray, who walked one, hit four batters and recorded six strikeouts.
Parkersburg (12-3) scored all of its runs in the opener during a four-run fourth.
Photo by Jay W. Bennett
Athens Post 21 catcher Blake Lindner, left, retrieves the ball and ends up helping the visitors turn an unlikely 9-2-6-3 triple play in the first inning of Wednesday’s American Legion doubleheader at City Park. Parkersburg Post 15’s Rex Windland thought he was going to score after being part of a double steal attempt.
Athens losing pitcher Tyler Walton (3.1 IP, 1 ER, 8 BB, 1 SO) issued consecutive walks to Adam McCray and Josh Stephens to start the fourth. Kyle Goodwin, Post 15's No. 9 hitter, then reached on a bunt single to third and it was quickly 2-0 when Athens threw the ball away. Goodwin later made it 3-0 when he scored on a wild pitch.
The fourth run came about when Rex Windland walked, stole second and moved to third on a wild pitch. After Athens relief pitcher Trey Nuzum inherited a 2-1 count, he walked Lucas Goodwin to put runners on the corners with one out for Devon Crews. However, Crews hit a pop up past the second baseman, but the Athens right fielder dropped it. Goodwin ended up getting forced out at second. Although Windland scored easily, Crews was called out after reaching first for leaving the field because he thought the umpire had called him out.
Walton, who picked off a pair of Post 15 runners at first base, escaped trouble in the first inning thanks to an uncanny triple play. Windland opened the game by reaching on an infield single and Lucas Goodwin was then hit by a pitch. With Crews up, the runners attempted a double steal and didn't realize Crews' sinking shot to right was just snagged about a foot above the ground by Athens right fielder Chace Harris. Harris, though, instead of throwing to second base opted to fire the ball home as Windland was booking it toward the plate. Although Harris' throw went wide, catcher Blake Lindner managed to knock it down and throw it to the shortstop Howman, who fired to Justin Shumate at first for the 9-2-6-3 triple play.
Hit for the second time, Zach Howman was erased after he reached to start the sixth when Athens tried a hit-and-run only to watch Lindner drill a liner back to Gray, who tossed over to McCray at first for the easy double play.
The second game of the twinbill was suspended in the bottom of the seventh. Athens held a 6-5 advantage with two outs, but Post 15 had a runner at third.
Post 15 returns to action with a 1 p.m. Saturday doubleheader at Meigs Post 128.