Yellowjackets do an about-face at Belpre

BELPRE – The first inning of Tuesday’s baseball game at Civitan Park between Williamstown and Belpre was an anomaly of what would transpire the rest of the afternoon.

In the top of the inning, Belpre starting pitcher Hayden Plummer retired the side in order on only five pitches as Golden Eagle third baseman Ryan Epperly had a hand in all three putouts.

In bottom half of the inning, Joey Byers doubled on the first pitch offered by Williamstown starter Josh Daniell and later scored on Tavian Miller’s sacrifice fly.

By the time the two teams walked off the field four innings later, the scoreboard told a much different story as the Yellowjackets defeated Belpre, 17-2.

Williamstown, which improved to 19-9, batted around in every inning but the first inning and produced 14 hits, including a pair of doubles from Jake Tracewell. Teammates Avery Goff and Eli Gray both drove in three runs, while Bret MacIver and Reece Westfall delivered two RBIs apiece.

Yellowjackets enjoying multi-hit games included MacIver, Gray and Swisher.

“The kids reacted well,” Williamstown coach Terry Smith said. “I was kind of worried because last night against Parkersburg Catholic they were really focused on winning and I thought there would be a letdown.”

Defensively, the Yellowjackets were flawless and did not commit an error. In fact, left fielder Joel Swisher and shortstop Dakota Watson made a pair of web gems that kept Belpe off the bases. In the third inning with a runner on first base and Williamstown leading 10-2, Swisher reached over the fence and robbed a sure home run from Miller to end the threat.

“Actually, Joel has a mark on his arm (from the fence),” Smith said. “He was able to get back on the ball, the ball kept carrying and he just jumped up at the last second.”

In the fourth inning, Belpre’s Andy Stines ripped a shot up the middle that seemed to be headed for center field, but Watson showed great range while gloving the grounder near the second base bag and rifled a throw to first to retire the batter.

“Dakota is so good, but I’m not sure he’s ever played one position all the time,” Smith said. “(Assistant coach Jeff Bayles) and I have made an effort to make sure the only thing he does is pitch and play shortstop. He’s getting better and better.”

Daniell earned the victory after throwing a complete game. The sophomore did not record a strike out, but did limit the Golden Eagles to five hits – all singles minus Byers’ first-inning double.

“Josh is still figuring it out a little bit,” Smith said. “One thing going for him, he has the courage to throw strikes and he will.”