Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

April 6, 2013

Wagner’s new team hands loss to Tazewell

Bluefield Daily Telegraph

CROZET, Va. — Catching a decent day to play baseball has been a challenge for local teams. However, on Saturday the Bulldogs (1-2) made the trip up the interstate to take on the Miller Mavericks under clear, sunny skies in the Charlottesville area.

The Mavericks, coached by former Bulldogs player and MLB All-Star Billy Wagner, played host to his mentor, Lou Peery and the Bulldogs in a non-district baseball tilt.

A pitchers’ dual through the first four innings gave way to a few mishaps by the Tazewell defense in the fifth inning gave the Mavericks’ bats ample opportunity to break open a scoreless game. Miller scored seven in the fifth and the Bulldogs were able to answer with three runs in the final two innings to drop a 7-3 decision to the Mavericks.

“Good teams are going to do that to you especially a fundamentally sound team like Billy has,” Peery said. “I wanted to see some pitchers strive in some adverse conditions and I think we’ve got our rotation rolled down into three or four pitchers. But, they (the Mavericks) have a fine young club.”

“Both pitchers did a great job,” Peery added. “We have the same philosophy. (We) want them to throw strikes and come right at them because we’re not on an island, we can’t walk off — we have to hit our way off.”

Lucas Parsons was on the mound for the Bulldogs and had Miller on their heels through the first three innings without a hit with his defense was giving him support. He left the game after four innings of work with a pair of strikeouts with a walk and a single with no runs.

Michael Daily was on the hill for Miller and had allowed just one hit when Chase Illig singled to deep right in the top of the first. The Bulldogs threatened in the top of the fourth with two runners on base after Brett Powers reached after being hit by a pitch and Brett Jones drew a walk.

Facing two outs, Brody Dean hit a sharp grounder to the center of the infield and the Miller defense bobbled the ball for a minute before Will Wagner, playing second, came in and recovered the miss. Wagner used his quick feet to tag second for the force out to end the inning and the threat.

“When you’re 5-foot-4, you had better have some I.Q. with you,” Billy Wagner said. “He’s (Will Wagner) been known for the I.Q.”

The Mavericks put a pair of runners on in the fourth with a walk and a single by Johnny Wood before Tazewell stopped Millers’ threat with a 6-4-3 double play.

Jonah Peery came on the mound in the fifth for Tazewell and the Mavericks were able to get ahead and keep the Bulldogs defense unsteady. The wheels wobbled when Nathan Gentry was hit by a pitch, then, the infield committed an error in Daily’s at bat for two runners on base. After a strikeout, the next six batters reached with three hits including a two-RBI double by Brock Henley to the left field fence which was 274-feet away and a two-run homer by Cody Rose. By the time the damage was assessed, the Mavericks had built a 7-0 lead.

“We’ve struggled all year getting timely hits and getting people on base,” Wagner said. “We were able to take advantage of a few opportunities and we made the most of it. We have a very young club.”

But the reason for playing a team like Tazewell is to see what kind of baseball I want us to play. We were lucky today, our pitchers threw strikes and we overcome a few things.”

Tazewell scored three runs in the sixth beginning on a mini-rally which began on a double by Illig. Powers hit an RBI-single, next in the order, before Jones singled to knock Maverick’s pitcher, Daily, out of the game. All three Bulldogs’ base runners scored, however, it was all she wrote as Miller took the non-district win. Miller’s Henley was 1-for-3 with a double and run scored and Rose had a two-run homerun, his only hit of the day.

Illig went 2-for-3 with a run scored for Tazewell with Powers and Jones getting singles and scoring a run. Casey Lee also had a hit for the Bulldogs.

Daily was the winning pitcher for the Mavericks striking out eight batters, allowing four hits with one walk and hit one batter. Jonah Peery was tagged with the loss for the Bulldogs.

The game marked the first time that Billy Wagner and Lou Peery have met coaching against each other.

“I told the guys we would all be so lucky as to have a Coach Peery in our lives to be such a role model,” Wagner said. “If I’m lucky enough to be half the coach he is, we’ll be ok. I’m sitting there wanting to root for my team and it’s a fine line. Win lose or draw, it was great to be on the field coach.”

“It’s a great testament to the game of baseball for him to continue on,” Lou Peery added. “A lot of players get out of baseball and they’re done with it. I’m honored that he’s continuing the things that he does so strong.”


At Crozet

Tazewell.........................000   003   0 – 3 5 1

Miller..............................000   070   x – 7 4 1