By Jake Sermersheim
Going into the fifth inning down by a 6-0 score, a loss for the West Virginia Miners looked certain. But the plot changed, new heroes emerged, and the Miners managed to come all the way back to snare a 13-7 victory over the Champion City Kings on July 28 in Springfield, OH.
Little was going right for the Miners as Kings’ starting pitcher Jared Hatch was shutting down the offense allowing just one base runner and no hits. Along with that, the Miners were without a designated hitter and forced to bat the pitcher due to a depleted roster of just eight position players.
But despite the deficit, the Miners did not give up.
I commenced with a base hit from Noah Freimuth that broke up the no-hitter. A stolen base and a wild pitch then put Freimuth just 90 feet away on third base. Collecting his first hit of the year, recently-arrived centerfielder Tynan Shahidi broke the shutout.
The Kings responded with a Stephen Cullen home to retake the six-run lead at 7-1.
However, the game’s final twelve runs were all tallied by the team from Beckley, WV.
It started when the Miners countered with back-to-back hits from Clayton Mehlbauer and Caleb Walls to open up the top of the sixth inning and setting up a double from Jonathan Pasillas. The next batter, Ross Mulhall, stepped to the plate with just one home run in the month of July. He promptly doubled that total with a wall scraper over the left-field fence. A double steal of Shahidi and Brock Randels brought Randels to the plate to make it a one-run game (7-6).
With the momentum seemingly tilting the Miners way, Wil Mullins started his second inning of work on the mound. Mullins then promptly slammed the door on the Kings by striking out the side and cementing the momentum shift to the Miners.
Unable to score in the top of the seventh, the Miners stepped up to the plate needing a strong inning.
The top of the eighth yielded an error from the Kings’ first baseman Marcus Ernst that brought Randels around. With the bases loaded, two outs and a chance to tie, Mullins the pitcher turned into Mulllins the hitter and stepped to the plate. On a 2-2 count, Mullins hit a soft grounder in between the third baseman and shortstop. But the ball was hit softly enough that Mullins was able to leg it out to give the Miners the lead.
After extending the inning, Mehlbauer stepped to the plate and hammered a ball over the right-field fence giving the Miners much needed insurances runs.
In the bottom of the ninth, the Miners added a further pair of insurance runs. A single from Freimuth brought Mulhall around to score. Mullins then drove in his second runner of the game with a hard hit ball through the right side of the infield.
The unlikely comeback for the Miners was complete as Mullins lead the way going 2-3 at the plate with 2 RBI while also being credited with the “win” by pitching four innings that saw him allow just one run with five strikeouts and no walks.