The Times West Virginian

Prep Sports

April 10, 2014

Hawks deal Polar Bears first loss: PHOTOS

MORGANTOWN — Fairmont Senior baseball coach Steve Naternicola was at a loss for words Wednesday when asked about his Polar Bears’ 6-3 loss to University High School at Mylan Park.

“We didn’t ... I don’t know what the problem was today. I just don’t know what to say,” he answered. “All the other games we’ve showed up, and today we just ...”

He trailed off there at the end, leaving the question as open-ended as it was when he started.

Then again, how does a coach explain how the previously unbeaten Polar Bears (7-1), a team that stormed through the opening stretch of the season by mercy-ruling nearly every team in its path, could fall to University (1-3-1), a team whose greatest achievement before Wednesday was a 3-3 tie?

Come to think of it, this disparity actually could have been the problem, at least according to one of the Polar Bears.

“I think we took these kids lightly because we knew they weren’t very good,” said left fielder Ryder Skarzinski, who was one of the lone bright spots with a double, RBI and two singles.

The Polar Bears came out the way they have most of the season. Gage Hannah doubled and Johnny Kesling knocked him in with an RBI single to give Fairmont Senior the early 1-0 lead.

But University quickly evened the score at 1-1 in the bottom of the first.

Then in the second inning, the Hawks scored three runs on just one hit to stretch the lead to 4-1. Fairmont Senior starting pitcher Ryan Valentine walked the first batter of the inning and then hit the second with a pitch. After an error by the second baseman, an overthrow by the catcher, a sacrifice fly and an RBI single, Valentine’s day was done.

He surrendered three hits, walked one, hit one and allowed four runs (three earned) in 1 and 2/3 innings.

While the walks hurt, the errors were lethal.

“It was just dumb things that happened,” Skarzinski said of the errors. “But we’d rather get it out of the way now than later in the season.”

The Polar Bears closed the gap to 4-3 in the top of the fifth. Trae Hall led off with his second single of the game and later scored when center fielder Austin Norman reached on a fielder’s choice. Skarzinski then drove in Norman with his third hit of the game.

But the Hawks answered right back.

Fairmont Senior’s Trevor DeVaul, pitching in relief, had thrown two and 1/3 scoreless innings. But in the fifth inning he issued his only two walks of the game. Both scored.

The Hawks tacked on a sixth run in the top of the sixth when Travis Renner doubled and scored on Jeremy Eckles’ single.

Naternicola said he was pleased with DeVaul’s performance in relief. “He did a great job. We can’t ask for more from him,” he said of his right-hander, who threw five and 1/3 innings, allowed five hits, walked two and surrendered three earned runs.

The Polar Bears attempted to mount a comeback in the top of the seventh. With two outs, Norman walked and Kesling doubled. But Skarzinski’s lone out of the game, a pop up to right field, ended any hopes for a comeback.

Though the loss spoils the Polar Bears’ bid for a perfect season, they know better than to put too much stock in a non-conference defeat.

“We were trying to stay undefeated. But it’s non-conference,” said Hannah. “We’re going for the Big 10 title, so we’ve still got that to look forward to.”

Fairmont Senior won’t have to look too far forward. Today the Polar Bears travel to Lincoln for a conference matchup before the rivalry game with East Fairmont Friday night.

Email Mike DeFabo at mdefabo@timewv.com or follow him on Twitter @MikeDeFaboTWV.

1
Text Only
Prep Sports
  • Post 17 #10-Post 1 #16 -ts.jpg Post 17 makes quick work of Wheeling to advance: PHOTOS

    Fairmont Post 17 scattered 16 hits and plated double-digit runs in a 10-2 rout of Post 1 Wheeling Friday afternoon at Hawley Field.
    Fairmont wasted no time getting runs across the plate. Right fielder James Bolander smoked a two-RBI double in the bottom of the first inning to grab a 2-0 lead that Fairmont would never surrender.

    August 2, 2014 5 Photos

  • COLUMN: DeVaul answers when called upon

    For the second time in seven days, Post 17 Fairmont called on its veteran leader when it needed a win to stay alive.
    As Fairmont and Post 1 Wheeling stepped onto the field for a rematch with the stakes much higher than their previous meeting at the American Legion state baseball tournament, the ball was placed into Fletcher DeVaul’s hands.

    August 2, 2014

  • Post 17 makes short work of Wheeling to advance to nightcap

    Post 17 Fairmont scattered 16 hits and plated double-digit runs in a 10-2 rout of Post 1 Wheeling Friday afternoon at Hawley Field.

    August 1, 2014

  • Post 17 #18-Post 29 catche copy.jpg Post 17 picks up much-needed win over Elkins

    After a rather sloppy Area tournament, Post 17 Fairmont managed to turn things around Thursday afternoon at Hawley Field in Morgantown, staying alive with a 4-2 win over Elkins in the American Legion state baseball tournament.
    While it’s usually hitting that gets Fairmont by, Thursday it was the pitching and the defense.

    August 1, 2014 5 Photos

  • Post 17 stays alive in American Legion state tournament

    After a rather sloppy Area tournament, Post 17 Fairmont managed to turn things around Thursday afternoon at Hawley Filed in Morgantown, staying alive with a 4-2 win over Elkins in the American Legion state baseball tournament.

    July 31, 2014

  • Post 17 #18-Post 1 #2  run copy.jpg Wheeling holds off Post 17 rally in state tournament opener: PHOTOS

    Wheeling Post 1 pitcher Mo Felt nearly went the distance in a 7-6 victory over Fairmont Post 17 on Tuesday afternoon at the West Virginia American Legion Baseball State Tournament at Hawley Field.
    Felt struck out seven in 8.1 innings of work in the team’s first-round victory over Fairmont.

    July 31, 2014 9 Photos

  • DeVaul wraps up final season as Post 17’s leader

    If you were to ask players on Fairmont American Legion Post 17’s roster who they looked up to, you’d find a familiar pattern.

    July 29, 2014

  • Post 17 falls short of Area II championship

    Sometimes getting a bad game out of your system is what a team needs.

    July 27, 2014

  • JAMES UNDER RAINBOW -TS.jpg Post 17 plays itself into Area II championship game: PHOTOS

    The goal was simple for Post 17 Fairmont: Beat Bridgeport and advance to the state American Legion Tournament. But it left with more than a state tournament berth Saturday night at East Fairmont High School.
    After beating Bridgeport, 11-8, Fairmont secured a spot in next week’s state tournament. But with one challenge down, Fairmont moved on to the next: Playing itself into an area championship game.

    July 27, 2014 14 Photos

  • Post 17 plays itself into Area II championship game

    The goal was simple for Post 17 Fairmont: beat Bridgeport and advance to the state American Legion Tournament. But it left with more than a state tournament berth Saturday night at East Fairmont High School.

    July 26, 2014

Featured Ads
Prep Sports Highlights
NDN Sports
NCAA Breaking News
NCAA Photos