Trinity comeback falls just short in loss to Tygarts Valley

MORGANTOWN — As is so often the case at Mylan Park, the Trinity Christian baseball game against Tygarts Valley Thursday night seemed made more for ice fishing rather than playing the national pastime. But despite the bone-chilling weather, the Warriors hitters suffered from a steady dose of heat from flame-throwing pitcher Jaxon Drennen, who gave up just one hit while striking out 14 to lead the Bulldogs to a 4-3 victory.

Drennen faced the minimum through the first three innings, striking out eight and walking one, who was promptly gunned down on an attempted steal. However, Trinity (2-3) starter Will McPherson was perfect through two before running into some trouble in the third.

An infield error and a hit batsman put Tygarts Valley (2-1) in business, but a punch out and a beautifully executed 9-3-2 put out at the plate on a single gave TCS a chance to wriggle out of the jam, even after a walk loaded the bases. But a bloop single from Kaden Moore plated a pair, another came home on an errant throw, and the Bulldogs had scored three unearned runs to take the lead.

In the fourth, TV scored another unearned run to take a seemingly insurmountable 4-0 lead, but in the bottom of the frame Trinity managed to get two runners in scoring position on a walk, and a sacrifice hit that turned into gold after Drennen failed to nail the lead runner, but the Bulldog’s bulldog killed the rally with three straight.

However, the Warriors scratched and clawed back into the game in the fifth. Ryan Parker led off with a clean single to center, Noah Toler was hit by a pitch, and with two out and the bases loaded, a wild pitch brought a run home, and then a second wild pitch brought two home, Brock Shuba racing all the way in from second on a terrific base running read and hustle play.

Suddenly, improbably, the Warriors were within one, but they didn’t get another baserunner as Drennen and closer Ian Harris slammed the door shut.

“Drennen’s the best we’ve seen this year for sure,” insisted Warriors manager Wes Hopkins. “He threw hard, his fastball had movement, and his slider also had some bite. He’s got to be one of the top Class A pitchers in the state — he was that good.”

But while Hopkins explained that running into a dominant pitcher happens in baseball, he was also proud and pleased with the way his pitchers competed and how his team battled back.

“Will is at the top of our rotation for a reason,” he explained, “and although he had some trouble with his command, he found a way to keep us in it. Brock gave us a solid inning but then had some elbow discomfort. But look at what Sam Fulk did for us, striking out three straight and putting up two scoreless — all from a freshman. That, plus the way we found a way to manufacture some runs and climb back in it against a dominant pitcher, are things we can definitely build on.

“It kind of felt like we didn’t lose this one,” he smiled, “we just ran out of innings. If we can cut down on the number of free passes — walks and errors — we will end up on the winning end of more games, and I think we are capable of just that.”

The Warriors travel to Paden City on Tuesday, with the first pitch scheduled for 5:00 p.m.

Tygarts Valley 4, Trinity Christian 3
TV    003  100  0  –  4
TCS 000  030  0  –  3
TYGARTS VALLEY (2-1) — Jaxon Drennen p-ss 4 1 1 0 Elliott Smith cf 2 1 0 0 Kaden Moore 3b 4 0 1 2 Jacob Wamsley 1b 4 0 0 0 Austin Teter rf 4 0 1 0 Ian Harris ss-p 2 1 0 0 Kendall Armstrong c 2 0 0 0 Avery Row-Sponaugle 2b 1 1 0 0 Kaiden Warner lf 3 0 0 0  Totals 26 4 3 3
TRINITY CHRISTIAN (2-3) — Brock Shuba cf-p-1b 1 1 0 0 Parker Hopkins c-ss 0 0 0 0 Thomas Dinkel 3b 3 0 0 0 Trenton Timperio lf-cf 3 0 0 0 Baret Shuba ss-c 3 0 0 0 0 Ryan Parker 1b-2b 3 1 1 0 Will McPherson p 2 0 0 0 Noah Toler rf-lf 2 1 0 0 Sam Fulk 2b-p 3 0 0 0 Joel Bowers lf 1 0 0 0 Totals  21 3 1 0.
E- TC 4. LOB – TV 8 TC 3. SH – TC 1 (Hopkins). HBP – TV 1 (Row-Sponaugle by McPherson in the 3rd), TC 1 (Toler by Drennen in the 5th)
TV – Drennen (W) 6.1 ip 3 r 3 er 1 h 4 bb 14 so, Harris (S) 0.2 ip 1 r 0 er 0 h 0 bb 1 so.  
TC – McPherson (L) 4 ip 4 r 0 er 2 h 2 bb 5 so, Br. Shuba 1 ip 0 r 0 er 0 h 4 bb 2 so, Funk 2 ip 0 r 0 er 1 h 0 bb 5 so.