From staff reports
The West Virginia Miners are back in a familiar spot.
First place. All by themselves.
Dylan Harvey and Justin Paul homered, Caleb Smith turned in a dominant relief performance and the Miners defeated the Springfield Sliders 8-2 Friday night for their ninth straight win.
Coupled with the Jamestown Jammers’ 6-3 loss to Champion City, the Miners (19-8) sit alone atop the Prospect League’s East Division standings, one game ahead of the Jammers with three games left in the first half. West Virginia’s magic number for clinching the first-half championship is three. The first-half winners in each division clinch a spot in August’s league playoffs.
Smith (1-0) worked in relief of starter Cody Artalejo, who allowed the Sliders just two unearned runs over four innings. Smith went four innings himself, limiting Springfield to one hit. He struck out six and walked one.
Harvey went 2 for 3, including a two-run homer that tied the game at 2-2 in the third inning. He also stole his league-leading 24th base of the summer.
Paul hit his first homer to lead off the seventh inning. He and Zach Sterry share the league lead with 19 runs batted in. Jonathan Weeks is tied for third with 17.
West Virginia visits Champion City tonight for the start of a two-game series. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. Austin Simms will start for the Miners.