Harper’s gem keeps St. Marys perfect

ST. MARYS – There’s something to be said for consistency.

For his third straight start of the season, St. Marys pitcher Robbie Harper struck out nine batters. But this particular appearance against Doddridge County Monday night at Dave Wilson Field had the makings of something special as he retired the first nine batters he faced and didn’t allow a hit until one out in the top of the fourth inning.

With plenty of run support, Harper played spectator for the fifth and final inning as the Blue Devils shut out the Bulldogs 12-0.

St. Marys coach Ed Wilson mentioned he would have given Harper an opportunity to complete a no-hit bid had his senior right-hander prevented Doddridge County’s Drew Lett from belting an opposite field single on an 0-2 pitch.

“We won 12-0, so I really can’t complain about anything,” Harper said. “I haven’t pitched in a week and a half so it felt really good to be out on the mound. I felt really loose today.”

Seven different St. Marys hitters contributed at least one hit as the Blue Devils roughed up the first three Doddridge County pitchers for 10 hits.

One individual in particular supplied the offensive fireworks as Jarrod Lough went 2-for-2 at the plate with a triple, homer and four runs batted in.

“These past few games, I ‘ve had some trouble with my hitting,” Lough said.

“I guess I just found it today. I found out what was wrong.”

St. Marys put this game out of reach early after scoring seven runs in the bottom of the first inning. The first two runs were scored when Lough’s fly ball to deep left field hit the base of the fence for a triple.

“I knew that ball wasn’t going to carry because there wasn’t any wind blowing today,” Lough said.

Matthew Houser and Tony Drazba also drove in a run as Harper had all the insurance he needed. Harper struck out the side in both the second and third inning then lost any possibility of a perfect game when he walked the leadoff batter in the fourth inning.

St. Marys tacked on three runs in the second inning then single runs in both the third and fourth innings.

Needing only three outs to secure the mercy rule, St. Marys turned to Houser in the fifth inning.

The lefty struck out the leadoff hitter then induced two ground ball outs to keep St. Marys perfect at 7-0.

Doddridge County starting pitcher Michael Frailey lasted just two-thirds of an inning and suffered the loss. The 0-4 Bulldogs used a total of five pitchers.

“That’s what we’ve done the first seven games – our pitching has been great while our hitting has been sporadic,” coach Wilson said.