Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local Sports

May 15, 2013

Long rain delay to finally end

Sectional title at stake

BLUEFIELD — Sectional baseball playoffs began in the Mountain State more than a week ago, but thanks to Mother Nature several teams are still playing in the first round of the playoffs. Standardized tests are being administered throughout West Virginia this week and during that time schools are not permitted to have athletic events.

This evening at Gardner, PikeView will host James Monroe in a Class AA, Region III, Section 4 contest. The game began last Friday at Bowen Field in Bluefield and PikeView held a 3-2 lead in the top of the third when the skies opened and rendered the field unplayable.

An attempt to resume the game Saturday afternoon at PikeView was for naught. Players, coaches and volunteers worked on Richie Field for hours, but a downpour around 6:30 forced postponement until today, and again, weather permitting.

A PikeView win gives the Panthers the sectional championship. A James Monroe victory will force a deciding game with the winner advancing and the loser hanging up their spikes for the season.

PikeView head coach Josh Wyatt talked about what the team has been doing since it last took to the field for game action.

“Basically the last couple of days I felt like all we were doing was field work,” Wyatt commented. “Today (Wednesday) we made sure our timing was good, worked on our team speed and did a lot of game simulation. I feel like I’ve been preaching to them to remind them what we have at stake and the opportunity at hand to advance and play. We’ve got to come out playing tomorrow. We’ve got to play ourselves back into it.”

Zach Meadows was on the mound for PikeView when the game was suspended. Wyatt is not sure at this point who will get the ball for the Panthers.

“We’ve discussed a few options. I thought Meadows was throwing fine (Friday). They had some good, timely hitting against him. I didn’t think they were hitting him hard,” Wyatt said. “We’ve got (Kevin) Cottle, (Austin) Cordell, (Jordan) Hardin who all can throw. I think that will be the interesting part, to see where everybody goes with their pitching.”

James Monroe had John Mustain the younger on the mound when the game was suspended. Mavericks’ head coach John Mustain talked about his pitching situation.

“I plan on coming back with him,” Coach Mustain said. “Caleb Brown is our No. 1 (pitcher). If it gets in a situation where it gets tighter, or if it looks like we need to shut them down, that bunch (PikeView) is hard to shut down. You can’t save him for the next game. You want to try to hold off as long as you can with our other pitcher and hope he can do the job.”

James Monroe (9-15) has five seniors in the starting lineup, Ryan Wickline (second base), Micah Deskins (shortstop), Ryan Page (catcher), Tyler Moore (center field) and Devin Carr (left field). Coach Mustain defense has been the key for the team this year.

“Our defense has won some games for us and lost some game for us,” Mustain said. “We’re a typical high school team. We make a lot of errors. It’s frustrating to see them make plays and then the next thing we’re throwing the ball away, not coming up with the ground ball. You can’t expect your pitchers to strike everybody out.”

Wyatt knows that the Panthers will get the best shot James Monroe has to offer and that the intense play of the team emanates from its coach, John Mustain the elder.

“You couldn’t ask for a better guy than Coach Mustain,” Wyatt commented. “It has been a pleasure coming back to PikeView to coach and coach against him. He’s a great man and his ball players reflect him, scrappy, you have to put them away. You have to beat them because they don’t throw away ball games.”

PikeView (20-10) has set a school record this year for wins in a season and Wyatt wants his team to understand that there is still more to be accomplished.

“We have done a lot of firsts this year,” Wyatt noted. “We’ve swept some teams we’ve never beaten. I remind them if we don’t come out and win tomorrow (Thursday), teams like that are forgotten. If they want to be remembered and continue something that’s special, they’ve got to come out and play against a good James Monroe squad.”

Resumption of the suspended game will be at 5 p.m. If a second game is necessary, it will follow.

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