Josh Wyatt is teaching the ‘PikeView Way’ of playing baseball.
It showed on Saturday, as the Panthers collected 11 hits, swiped six bases, had no errors in the field and got production from throughout the lineup to defeat Bluefield 9-6 on Saturday afternoon at PikeView High School.
Not a bad way for PikeView to begin its trip to the Mingo Bay Classic next week in sunny Myrtle Beach, S.C.
“Anytime you have a young group of kids that can carry intensity through the game like that and rise to the occasion...,” PikeView head coach Josh Wyatt said. “That is just us and Bluefield, ever since I have been here, most of them are one-run ball games.
“We did this same thing before we went to the beach last year and they came out on top.
Not on this day. PikeView (5-1), which defeated Westside 10-3 on Friday, overcame a pair of early deficits, scoring at least one run in five of six innings to send the Beavers (2-2) to their second straight loss.
“Give credit to PikeView,” said Bluefield head coach Justin Gilbert, whose Beavers dropped a one-run decision on Friday at James Monroe. “Mistakes were evident on both sides, but each team battled for seven innings and you know that is what I like.
“It was a good baseball game. We are glad to be out here, glad to be playing, but we made some mistakes.”
Six of PikeView’s 11 hits came from the bottom three spots in the batting order, led by junior Ryan Roberts with two doubles and two RBIs, a double and single from freshman Keian Lee and two singles and two RBIs by freshman Carter Shrewsbury, who also had three of the Panthers’ six stolen bases.
That came one night after another freshman, Jon Clark, hit a two-run home run against Westside.
“Talk about them freshmen, last night down at Westside was kind of a coming out party for them,” Wyatt said. “They are around baseball, they live and breathe baseball, I can’t keep them out of the cage.
“I will shut things down and here in a minute they will try to go up there and hit again. They love baseball and it makes it much easier on a coach. I just have to manage the game, they put the bat on the ball.”
Bluefield, which led 2-1 in the first and 3-1 in the second, was paced by Andrew Siegel with a double, two singles and two runs scored, along with Christian Oster, J.T. Roberts and Cody Goins who had two hits each. Goins also drove in two runs, while Oster scored twice.
The Beavers were hampered by three errors in the field and a pair of key base-running mistakes, with Hunter Moses picking runners off at third base in the fourth and sixth innings.
“He was able to rise to the occasion three times,” Wyatt said. “They had the first and third situation right after we made the (pitching) switch (in the sixth) and stealing a run at third, that was the game-tying run right there.”
There were also seven wild pitches, four walks — three of whom scored — and a pair of hit-batsmen, and one of them crossed the plate.
“We made two pivotal baserunning mistakes at third,” added Gilbert. “If you look back on it, you think those weren’t huge at the moment, but when you look at the end result, you never know how some of those would have played out.”
The Beavers took an early lead off PikeView sophomore Austin Cordell, but Meadows was summoned in the second to pick up the win, and Cottle finished up over the final two innings for the save.
“We put the bat on the ball today, they didn’t make mistakes, it is just we hit the ball, and we pitched well,” said Wyatt, whose Panthers didn’t commit an error in the game. “We are going to Myrtle Beach on a little winning streak here and having some goals down there to take care of and look to get back here playing again.”
There was plenty of extra drama in the game that featured 10 walks and four hit-batsmen. Clark was plunked by a pitch in the fourth, but the umpire ruled he leaned into the pitch. He later struck out, and was ejected after complaining about the earlier call.
“The thing is the umpire knew immediately he was wrong, he even apologized. Usually in those situations they don’t, but he didn’t even explain to him that he leaned into the ball,” said Wyatt, who agreed with the umpire’s ruling, but not the way it was handled. “If you are a freshman and you don’t explain it to him, of course it he gets rung up on the next one he is going to get upset, that is part of being passionate about baseball.”
PikeView took the lead for good with a three-run third inning, which began with a hit-batsman and two walks. By the time the Panthers sent the last of 10 batters to the plate, two runs had scored on wild pitches and another on a single by Shrewsbury.
Siegel started and took the loss for the Beavers. Justin Mariotti and Logan Lineberry also saw time on the mound for Bluefield.
“It is base-running mistakes, it is little communication mistakes that costs us three or four runs today, but those are things, with more time out here we will fix (with) more time on the baseball field,” Gilbert said. “I am not really worried about a lot of the mistakes today, I think that is my job to fix those and we will.”
The Panthers added insurance runs in the fifth on an RBI double from Lee, and two more in the sixth on a two-run double by Roberts.
PikeView also received three hits from leadoff batter Jordan Hardin, and a double from Cordell. Shrewsbury completed the final out for the Panthers with a sliding catch in center field with two runners on base.
Mariotti had an RBI double for Bluefield, while Lineberry added a run-scoring single in defeat.
Wyatt is pleased with the early season success of the Panthers, who finished 13-15 last season, but struggled in the postseason, costing PikeView their goal of finishing .500 on the season.
“This year we are playing the PikeView way,” Wyatt said. “We are taking care of balls hitting to us. The only thing I can complain about is maybe some baserunning mistakes and with what I have lived with here, baserunning mistakes is a pleasure to me because at least we are being aggressive.
“That is positive thing for me if that is all I am dealing with.”
—Contact Brian Woodson
at PikeView High School
Bluefield..........................210 102 0 — 6 10 3
PikeView.........................123 012 x — 9 11 0
Andrew Siegel, Justin Mariotti (3), Logan Lineberry (6) and Cody Goins. Austin Cordell, Zach Meadows (2), Kevin Cottle (6) and Hunter Moses. W—Meadows; L—Siegel; S—Cottle. HR—none.