By LLOYD COMBS
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
In baseball it helps to have a plan. Bluefield finally executed theirs in its final two at-bats.
The Beavers rapped out 10 of their 16 hits and scored a combined 11 runs in the fifth and sixth innings to pull away to a 15-6 win over Montcalm in the 40th annual Coppinger Invitational Saturday at Bowen Field.
Bluefield will now face Princeton in the quarterfinals Monday at 5:00 p.m.
It was a close game through the middle of the fifth. Montcalm (5-8) overcame an early 3-0 deficit and rallied to tie the score twice, at 3-3 in the third and 4-4 in the fifth.
The Beavers finally broke it open in the bottom half of inning number five. Justin Lightfoot doubled and scored the go-ahead run on a double just inside the left field line by Cody Goins. It gave Bluefield the lead for good at 5-4.
Bluefield added a couple of bloop hits, had six hits in the inning overall and Montcalm contributed three of their nine errors to extend the margin to 10-4.
The Generals scored twice in the sixth, but Bluefield exploded again with five more runs on four hits in the bottom of the frame.
“The first four innings we were overly excited,” Bluefield coach Justin Gilbert said. “We weren’t coming to the plate with a purpose. Early in the count we were swinging at curveballs and we’re not taught that way.
“Finally, in the fifth and sixth we went up there with a plan and it showed. We were a lot more productive.”
Tyler Poe had two hits, including a 2-run single in the third and John Casto added a single and a double for Montcalm, which had runners on base in every inning.
Errors in every inning, however, were just too much for the Generals.
“We made some errors and it snowballed,” Montcalm coach Jimmy Redmond said. “In baseball you’ve got to put mistakes behind you and go on to the next play. We let it get to us and we gave them extra outs, and you can’t do that against a good team.”
Bluefield (6-10) got at least one hit from the first eight spots in its batting order.
Justin Mariotti went 3-for-5 with a double and three RBIs. He also picked up the win in relief of starter Logan Lineberry.
Trevor Mullens finished the day 3-for-4 and drove in a run, while Justin Carter added a single and a two-run double. Lightfoot had two hits, including an RBI double in the sixth. Goins scored three runs and freshman Jeremy Thompson contributed a two-run double off the Bluefield bench.
“We’ve got good balance and we need that,” Gilbert added. “In high school baseball you want to put the ball in play and make the other team make plays.”
Montcalm centerfielder Josh Clower made the best defensive play of the game with a diving catch that took a hit away from Lightfoot in the bottom of the first.
At Bowen Field
Montcalm........................003 012 0 — 6 6 9
Bluefield........................ 211 065 x — 15 16 2
Presley and Poe. Lineberry, Mariotti (5), Carter (7) and Maxey. W-Mariotti. L-Presley. HR-none.