Fairmont Senior baseball mercy ruled by Lewis County 14-3 in six innings

Mar. 23—FAIRMONT — Friday night lights took place at the diamond instead of the gridiron, as Fairmont Senior baseball opened Big X Conference play against Lewis County at Mary Lou Retton Park.

The game turned into Fairmont Senior's first loss of the season, as Lewis County mercy ruled the Polar Bears 14-3 after six innings.

"There's not a lot to say," Fairmont Senior Head Coach Dave Ricer said. "They came out to play today, and we didn't. They put the bat on the ball and put up the runs."

Hayden Jones started on the mound for Fairmont Senior for the first time this season and received the loss. He pitched three innings, allowed seven runs, five hits, walked four and struck out three.

"I'd say a lot of it's on me," Jones said. "I got to be better. Can't fall behind in counts. You got to increase the hitting a little bit too. A lot of this loss is on me. Just got to be better."

Blake Straight relieved Jones for an inning and allowed four runs, four hits, and two walks. Matt Masters closed the game and allowed three runs, one earned, one hit, two walks and struck out five.

Trenton Hunt pitched the whole game for Lewis County and got the win. He allowed three runs, two earned, seven hits, walked one and struck out seven batters.

As a team, Fairmont Senior went seven for 24 at the plate and one batter walked. Lewis County went 10 of 28 at the plate and had eight reach base on balls.

"Normally, we're a better hitting team than that," Ricer said. "We just gave [Hunt] too many short innings. You can't give 3-1 and 5-1 and be in the game."

Lewis County gained a quick lead in the top of the first. A two-run RBI double from Liam Jeffries, an RBI single from Drew Cayton and another two-run RBI double from Leo Jones sent in five runs for an early 5-0 lead.

Cam Peschl got the first run for Fairmont Senior in the bottom of the first. On a wild pitch from Hunt, Peschl stole home to make it 5-1.

Unfortunately for Fairmont Senior, Jones gave up two more runs in the top of the second. Hunt sent a run home on an RBI single, and Jeffries netted his third RBI with a sacrifice to make it 7-1.

Brody Whitehair got the Polar Bears another run on the board, reaching home on a throwing error by first base to third. The run cut down the lead to five with Lewis County leading 7-2 after the bottom of the second.

Straight relieved Jones to start the fourth inning on the mound. Straight gave up four runs before in his time on the mound, coming off an RBI single by Hunt, an RBI from Cayton and a two-run RBI double from Luke Clem, making it 11-2, Lewis County.

After not scoring any runs in the bottom of the fourth, Fairmont Senior put Masters on the mound in the top of the fifth. He didn't allow any runs, and he also got an RBI single in the bottom of the fifth to make it 11-3.

Lewis County got the runs necessary to put the game in mercy rule territory in the top of the sixth. Hunt stole home on a wild pitch from Masters, and Jeffries and Cayton scored after the throw to first fell out of Jones' glove, leaving Jones safe at first.

Down 14-3 at the bottom of the sixth, Fairmont Senior had to score two runs to avoid the mercy rule. Unfortunately, Jones grounded out to second and Logan Canfield grounded out to shortstop for two quick outs. With Whitehair and Tyler Veltri on base, Ethan Miller got tagged by the catcher after the dropped third strike to end the game.

"Just tried to give us a chance and didn't do my job," Jones said. "But we'll bounce back tomorrow, and I'm looking forward to it."

Fairmont Senior travels to play Nicholas County Saturday morning at 11 and Greenbrier East at 1:30 p.m. The Polar Bears then come home for the East-West game against East Fairmont on Monday at 5 p.m.

Reach Colin C. Rhodes at 304-367-2548