By TOM BONE
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
The Bluefield dugout was not pleased after James Monroe scored seven runs in the sixth inning Tuesday night to tie their game with the Beavers 8-8 at Bowen Field.
Instead of getting down, the Beavers got runners on in the seventh and Logan Lineberry got the timely hit into left field, scoring Justin Mariotti from second base and ending the contest 9-8.
Lineberry said, “I knew we had good speed on the basepaths, so I knew if I put the ball in play, I had a good chance of getting that run across.”
“I wasn’t very pleased,” Bluefield coach Justin Gilbert said. “I felt like, in that situation, that game could have ended a little sooner. You let James Monroe hang on, and they came back with their heads up and their bats ready, and before you know it, it’s 8-8.”
“But we stuck it out. We got runners on in the seventh and we closed the deal.”
James Monroe coach John Mustain said, “The tough thing about a game like this is, you hate to see anybody lose.”
Gilbert said, “We had some clutch hits when we needed it with men on. ... High school baseball is just a matter of putting it in play, and making the other guys make the play.”
The Mavericks were limited to a Ryan Page double and Derrick Honaker’s single through five ininngs, prior to their big scoring splurge.
“We take too long to get going,” said Mustain. “And when I say that, it sounds like I’m taking credit away from them (Bluefield) and their pitcher, and I’m not. ... We let too many opportunities get away from us.”
“But — you always want to find that silver lining, and we did a good job battling back.”
“Logan got that winning hit there. Ten feet back the other way, maybe we catch that ball. That’s just baseball; that’s the way it is.”
“There are just so many things we’ve got to get better at. ... It’s going to have to get better. We’ve got 14 games in the next three weeks.”
“We’ll throw to one batter and throw three beautiful strikes, and strike him out, and then we’ll come out and hit the next guy.
“We’ve got to do a better job of getting focused — on the mound, at the plate, in the field. ... We have shown we’ve got the talent. The talent’s there. Now we’ve got to get a little bit more confident and we’ve got to get a little more focused.”
Justin Carter pitched 5 1/3 innings for Bluefield, striking out six and walking seven. He gave up only three hits but six runs came on his watch.
Freshman reliever Randy Maxey struggled through his first few batters, allowing a three-RBI double to Micah Deskins and a two-run single to Reed McNeer, but bounced back and closed it out.
Gilbert said, “Randy is someone we believe we can count on. He works hard, he’s a good kid and he came through for us.”
Lineberry said, “That was very impressive. He usually throws strikes, and that’s what we need in high school baseball.”
Ryan Wickline scored twice for James Monroe without a hit. He walked four times and was hit by a pitch. John Mustain’s double down the left-field line started the Mavericks’ big sixth inning.
Lineberry said, “It seems like we always have a snowball effect in one inning. If we want to advance to where we want to go, we have to eliminate that snowball inning. But we’re coming around.”
Bluefield’s Carter was hit by pitches twice and came around to score both times.
McNeer struck out seven batters and allowed two hits and a run in 3 1/3 innings before relinquishing the mound to Corey Lilly.
James Monroe (4-3) travels to Greenbrier West today, while Bluefield (5-9) hosts PikeView.
Gilbert said about the Panthers, “They’re a well-rounded group. It’s always a battle with them, and it’s going to be the same tomorrow. ... I look forward to a good ballgame here at Bowen.”
— Contact Tom Bone at
At Bowen Field
James Monroe........001 007 0 — 8 6 3
Bluefield................000 350 1 — 9 6 3
Reed McNeer, Corey Lilly (4) and Ryan Page. Justin Carter, Randy Maxey (6) and Cody Goins. WP - Maxey. LP - Lilly.