Patience is not a virtue for Trevor Mullins.
The Bluefield junior pitcher works fast on the mound, barely getting the ball back from the catch before throwing it again.
It’s all part of his plan.
“I like to keep the game at my own pace,” Mullins said. “I just like throwing fast, I am not a very patient person, but I have had to learn to be pitching.
“It seemed like I was hitting my spots and the coaches were calling the right pitches and everybody was making plays so it is easy to pitch when everybody is making plays.”
Mullins scattered six hits, struck out nine and walked none, and the Bluefield bats banged out seven doubles, as the Beavers defeated crosstown rival Graham 10-1 on Friday evening at Bowen Field.
“He is very up-tempo, he is very quick to the plate, he doesn’t wait around, and he knows what he wants to throw...,” Bluefield head coach Justin Gilbert said. “He is just very up-tempo, and in a way it throws guys off.
“They don’t have time to kick around and think about everything, they have just got to get in the box and go at it and it works for him. It has for a lot of the season.”
That game was part of a unique twinbill, with the Beavers playing on against another rival, PikeView.
“We love playing ball, a doubleheader like this, we love hearing that,” Mullins said. “A crosstown rival in Graham and then a sectional rival in PikeView, you can’t beat that in one day.”
Bluefield (8-11), which defeated Graham 15-5 in March, snapped a three-game skid, collecting 12 hits, including seven doubles, three by Randy Maxey, as the Beavers returned to the field after not playing for nearly week because of weather issues.
“We take a lot of pride in hitting, we are always in the (batting) cage,” said Mullins, a junior who contributed double, scored a run and drove in a run at the plate. “Of course we have had a lot of rain lately so it is been a lot of cage days lately so we saw the ball real well today.”
Graham (2-10-1) starter Logan Kirk, who signed earlier this week to play at Bluefield College, was saddled with the loss, with the Beavers scoring three runs in the second and fourth innings, and twice in the third. He was relieved by Ben Meade in the fourth.
“We knew coming in they can hit, that is probably their best thing,” Graham head coach Matt Dixon said. “They have got good pitchers in Mullins and (R.J.) Bourne there. We knew that and credit to them, they hit the ball to where we weren’t today.”
Marcus Santoro was plunked by a pitch in the bottom of the first, and hustled all the way around to score on a double down the left field line by Justin Lightfoot.
The doubles continued throughout the game. Jeremy Thompson contributed an RBI double in the second, and Maxey and Devon Goins had back-to-back two-base hits in the third, as the Beavers built a 6-0 lead.
“It is a very rare in West Virginia that you have five days off and we had that since last Saturday,” Gilbert said. “We spent a lot of time with the weather in the cage. I would liked to have been able to save some of those for the nightcap, but hopefully a lot of that will continue.”
Graham collected its lone run in the bottom of the third with Meade reaching on an infield single, and scoring on a double by Ben Carlisle, but Mullins worked fast, threw strikes and got errorless ball from his defense.
“Marcus had a great diving play up the middle, saved a run right there,” Mullins said. “It was just a great day on the ball field.”
That would be it for Graham, which did get a runner to second in the fourth and had two runners on in the seventh, but couldn’t get more runs off Mullins, who retired the final batter on a ground ball back to the mound.
“He worked ahead and instead of hitting our pitch, we hit his pitch tonight,” Dixon said. “We are swinging the bats fine, but you have got to hit your pitch, and we know this.
“Give credit to him, he worked ahead the whole game and kept us off-balanced a little bit and did a nice job.”
More doubles followed, with Mullins and Maxey getting two-base hits in the fourth, with Lightfoot driving in a run with a single, and two others scoring on a wild pitch and error on the G-Men.
Bluefield added another run in the sixth on another double by Maxey.
No one enjoyed playing two games on a pleasant evening more than Mullins.
“I love pitching, but it is just whatever the road has,” said Mullins, who left the Bluefield basketball team in December and a chance at a state championship to focus on baseball. “I like hitting, I like fielding, I like throwing, I like pitching too, it is just the game of baseball, I like it all...
“I played basketball and I think it was around December I ended up resigning and started weightlifting for baseball and it has helped a lot this season for sure.”
Graham, which dropped a 12-3 decision to Galax on Thursday, had to play without Tommy Lovell, who had an eye swollen shut by foul ball late in that loss to the Maroon Tide.
“(Lovell) is a four-year player, he has played since the ninth grade, it hurts, but there are no excuses here,” said Dixon, whose G-Men will host Narrows on Tuesday, and will also play River View and Bland County next week. “They played better than us tonight and the next guy has got to step up...
“We are playing well, we have just got to get some more games. We have got a big two weeks left, a lot of games left so hopefully we will keep doing what we are doing and some things will fall in our favor.”
Gilbert, whose Beavers will host three games next week, starting with James Monroe on Monday, was also fine with playing a twinbill with the G-Men and Panthers.
“We didn’t plan it, weather sort of forced it, but if it is going to be nice, why not,” Gilbert said. “Doubleheaders seem to be a thing of the past anymore and I like it. I don’t like it all the time because I wish I had enough pitching to do it all the time, but we don’t.
“It is good on a Friday night to a night full of baseball.”
One week is all that remains for West Virginia high school baseball in the regular season, with sectional action beginning on May 12 at PikeView.
Mullins expects the Beavers to be in the running for title with the Panthers and James Monroe.
“We are sure looking forward to sectionals, sectionals are always a big time of the year,” Mullins said. “We would like to get Coach Gilbert a sectional championship win.
“I think we have grown a lot as a team as the year has gone by and everybody is just starting to click right now so it is good.’
—Contact Brian Woodson
at Bowen Field
Graham..........001 000 0 — 1 6 1
Bluefield.........132 301 x — 10 12 0
Logan Kirk, Ben Meade (4) and Meade, Kirk (4). Trevor Mullins and Devon Goins. W—Mullins (4-2); L—Kirk. HR—none.