After dropping a tough 2-1 decision on Monday of last week, the West Union Dragons baseball squad loaded the bus and headed to North Adams High School just three days later to face a Devils team trying to make it a sweep for the week over their guests, but West Union right hander Kyle Taylor had a different idea.
After being on the short end of that 2-1 game, Taylor bounced back on Thursday to out duel the Devils’ Austin Copas as the Dragons avenged the Monday defeat, knocking off North Adams by a 3-1 count. Taylor fired a complete game four-hitter, striking out 9 and also drove in one of the three West Union runs.
After both pitchers began the game with a pair of scoreless frames, the Dragons broke through against Copas in the top of the third for a pair of runs.Chris Fox began the inning by reaching on an error as did Zach Hawes. A base hit to center by Caleb Stephenson plated Fox with the game’s first score and a single to center by Tony Hostetter brought home Hawes to make it 2-0.
The Green Devils sliced that deficit in half in their half of the third. Kenny Branch singled, was sacrificced to second by Blake Bradley, and came home on a base hit by Devin Gardner.
The score remained that way with Taylor and Copas putting zeroes on the board until the West Union top of the seventh. James McCoy singled to lead off the stanza and moved to second on another base hit by Stephenson. That forced North Adams head coach Rob Meade to go to his bullpen and bring in lefty Hank Sparks who promptly struck out Hostetter for the first out. Taylor then came to the plate and smacked a base hit by the shortstop that scored McCoy with a very important insurance run for the visitors. Sparks escaped further damage by getting Brandon Daniel on a pop up to second and striking out Lance Holbrook. leaving his team with one more shot at Taylor in the bottom of the seventh.
The West Union righty had no problems in the bottom of the inning, retiring the Devils in order to preserve his complete game win, the Dragons’ sixth of the season.
Taylor walked three over seven innings and allowed just the four hits to go along with the 9 K’s. Austin Copas pitched well enough to win for North Adams, going six plus innings, giving up six hits and just one earned run, as his defense committed six errors in the game.
“Our early defensive miscues ended up being the difference in this game,” said Coach Meade. “We got a strong performance on the mound from Austin but were unable to move runners or score on offense.”
The Southern Hills Athletic Conference win improved West Union to 6-9 on the spring and dropped North Adams under .500 at 7-8. Both teams began postseason play this week as North Adams traveled to Whiteoak yesterday for their first tourney game while the Dragons will be on the road this afternoon to face the Lynchburg Mustangs.
Mark Carpenter can be reached at 937-544-2391 or on Twitter @adamscosports.
002 000 1 —3
001 000 0 —1
W. Union Hitting (AB-R-H-RBI): Stephenson 4-0-2-1, Hostetter 4-0-1-0, Taylor 3-0-1-1, Daniel 3-0-0-0, Holbrook 4-0-1-0, Shelton 3-0-0-0, Fox 3-1-1-0, Hawes 3-1-0-0, McCoy 3-1-1-0, Team 30-3-7-2.
N. Adams Hitting (AB-R-H-RBI): Sheeley 3-0-1-0, Gardner 3-0-1-1, Sparks 3-0-0-0, Anderson 1-0-0-0, Hall 2-0-0-0, Copas 3-0-0-0, Brown 3-0-0-0, Branch 3-1-2-0, Bradley 2-0-0-0, Team 23-1-4-1.
W. Union Pitching: Taylor (W) 7 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 9 K, 106 pitches.
N. Adams Pitching: Copas (L) 6 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 79 pitches.
Sparks 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, 13 pitches.