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Baun sparks Bridgeport in seventh as the Indians defeat GW, 3-2

BRIDGEPORT, W.Va. — Despite being held hitless in the first six innings of their McDonald’s Classic tournament finale against George Washington, Bridgeport found themselves tied at 2 and with a chance for a walk-off victory. That’s exactly what happened for the Indians, but in unique fashion.

Kasen Baun scored on a throwing error to give the Indians a 3-2 win over the Patriots and their second victory of the day in their annual tournament.

Baun led off the bottom of the seventh with a double off the fence in right center field. It would be Bridgeport’s lone base hit of the game. Baun later advanced to third in a wild pitch. With one out, a squeeze bunt attempt failed and Baun was caught midway between third base and home plate. However, Baun was hit in the shoulder with an errant throw and he crossed the plate with the winning run.

“He is swinging the bat well. He was on it earlier today [versus Wheeling Park]. I thought he had some good cuts and I just like his approach at the plate,” said Bridgeport head coach Robert Shields.

Bridgeport scored twice in the first inning. Brody Pierce worked out a bases loaded walk and the next pitch hit Ben Bifano to force in another run. The Indians however would leave eight runners on base in the game.

“I thought we had some plate patience at times. We forced their kid to go deep into counts and I thought we did a good job there. But just putting the ball in play wasn’t very good tonight,” Shields said.

“There’s only so many opportunities you get. And when you get guys in scoring position, you have to execute and do some things. We just haven’t done that very well. That’s not the type of Bridgeport baseball I am accustomed to.”

George Washington cut their deficit in half in the fourth inning with a solo home run from Eli Smith. The No. 9 Patriots (8-7) drew even in the sixth inning when Chuck Kelley scored on a throwing error.

GWHS starting pitcher Ty Nettles struck out six batters in five innings while Bridgeport starting pitcher Blake Butcher fanned ten batters. Pierce struck out three batters in the seventh to earn the win in relief for Bridgeport.

The win over George Washington was the second of the day for the No. 3 Indians (11-2). They defeated Wheeling Park, 4-2 in the tournament opener.

“Earlier today, I thought that was the best ball we have played. It was a very clean ball game. It had good pitching. We hit the ball hard but we hit it right at them.”

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Ripley continues impressive start to season with 6-3 win over Herbert Hoover

BRIDGEPORT, W.Va. — No. 10 Ripley held No. 8 Herbert Hoover to just five hits in a 6-3 victory in the McDonald’s Classic. The Vikings later defeated Musselman, 7-4 to improve to 9-2 on the season.

Ripley relief pitcher Landon Meadows tossed four innings while allowing just one run. He struck out seven batters and surrendered just two hits.

Both teams traded two-run frames in the third inning to open the scoring. Ripley scored twice more in the fourth and added single runs in the fifth and sixth to take a lead they would not relinquish.

Brady McVay, Parker Keller and Eli Phalen each had multi-hit games for the Vikings.

Colin Lindsay drove in two runs for the Huskies (8-4). Herbert Hoover defeated Robert C. Byrd, 18-3 in the opening game of the day in the tournament.

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Lawmakers begin interim committee meetings Sunday

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — State lawmakers return to the state capitol for interim committee meetings Sunday

Lawmakers haven’t met since the 60-day regular session ended on March 9.

There are 21 meetings scheduled from Sunday-Tuesday.

The Legislative Committee on Flooding will lead things off at 1 p.m.

Other Sunday meetings will focus on public education, government operations and the state’s finances.

A general information session is scheduled for noon Monday at the state Supreme Court. The oversight committee on regional jails an prisons will meet at 11 a.m. Monday.

Ongoing issues with EMS, PEIA and health and human resources will draw attention in meetings scheduled for Tuesday.

The May interims are scheduled for May 19-21. Gov. Jim Justice said last week he hopes to call lawmakers into special session in late May following the May 14 Primary Election.

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Clark goes the distance again, Wetherholt hits first home run as Mountaineers top Central Florida, 7-5

GRANVILLE, W.Va. — When Derek Clark isn’t on top of his game early into outings, West Virginia baseball coach Randy Mazey doesn’t fret.

In fact, Mazey tries to find the positives from it, and one thing seems to stick out above the rest for him in each instance.

“He does what good starting pitchers do — they get better the longer they’re out there,” Mazey said. 

The left-hander put his pitching prowess and grit on display again Saturday, logging a fourth consecutive nine-inning start and tossing his third complete game this season to key the Mountaineers to a 7-5 victory against No. 17 Central Florida before 3,913 at Kendrick Family Ballpark.

“In baseball, you can’t panic. Once you start panicking and getting nervous, you’re pretty much beat,” Clark said. “I just try to keep the mindset moving and move ahead one step at a time. You look up and it’s the eighth inning and you’re like, holy crap, let’s finish this game.’”

Starting with a nine-inning outing March 23 in a win at Oklahoma, Clark has thrown nine frames in four straight starts, each coming on a Saturday in Big 12 play. The only time his effort didn’t yield a victory or go down as a complete game was March 30 when Clark limited Oklahoma State to one run in an extra-inning loss.

A transfer from Division II Northwood University, Clark improved to 4-0 with a 2.15 ERA in six starts, and the four earned runs and five runs he allowed against the Knights matched season-high totals from the outing against the Sooners.

Although he kept UCF (21-11, 8-9) from scoring each of the first two innings, Clark’s wild pitch with two outs in the third allowed Andrew Brait to score the game’s first run, and when Braden Calise followed with a double inside the third base line, former Mountaineer Mikey Kluska crossed the plate to give the visitors a 2-0 lead.

“He doesn’t linger on it. He knows the deal and he knows when he pitches on Saturday, his job is to throw the whole game,” Mazey said. “It doesn’t matter what happens early on. He can give up three runs or four runs. He knows why he’s out there. When something goes wrong, he doesn’t care and that makes him better.”

By the time Clark took the mound again in the fourth, West Virginia (21-13, 10-4) had cut its deficit in half by capitalizing on Central Florida miscues. Knights’ starting pitcher Dom Stagliano hit both Skylar King and J.J. Wetherholt with a pitch, and after Logan Sauve reached on an error, the Mountaineers had the bases loaded with no outs.

But Stagliano limited the damage and allowed only one run — that coming on Sam White’s groundout to second to score King. 

Jack Zyska led off the fourth with a home run to left, allowing the Knights to regain their two-run lead and marking the first homer surrendered this season by Clark, who went 40 innings without allowing one.

“A lot of guys would fold over and get worse, but that makes Derek better,” Mazey said.

The Knights hurt their cause again in the home half of that frame, committing an error that allowed Brodie Kresser to reach second, and after Kresser took the third on a wild pitch, he came home on Spencer Barnett’s sacrifice fly to left.

Clark retired the side in order with a pair of strikeouts in the fifth, and Wetherholt belted his first home run this season to lead off the bottom of that inning and tie the game at 3. It marked Wetherholt’s 10th game in the lineup and his sixth game back from a hamstring injury that sidelined him for 24 contests.

“Baseball is a hard game. It was a good swing and it was due to come at some point,” Wetherholt said. “You can’t get too high about it. Kind of just rock out in the middle and get ready to play tomorrow.”

Later in the fifth, Reed Chumley connected for a solo shot with two outs, enabling the Mountaineers to lead for the first time.

WVU scored twice more in the sixth — an inning that began with a Grant Hussey single and spelled the end of Stagliano’s outing.

Relief pitcher Najer Victor surrendered a one-out single to King that brought home Hussey, and Wetherholt followed with a sacrifice fly for a 6-3 advantage.

Anthony Calabro’s solo home run in the seventh momentarily brought the Knights to within two, but it was answered by West Virginia’s third home run — this one off White’s bat — to start the home half of that inning.

Clark worked a perfect eighth and overcame a two-out, run-scoring single from Brait in the ninth that allowed the go-ahead run to step into the batter’s box. That came in the form of pinch-hitter Keano Suarez, who sent a ground ball to shortstop for the game’s final out.

“I was taught growing up that the best starters get better as the game goes on,” Clark said. “I try to learn from my mistakes earlier in the game and build off of them.”

Clark, who threw 123 pitches, struck out 10, allowed six hits and issued two base-on-balls.

“Anytime we face a good starting pitcher that throws a lot of strikes, the time to get them is early, before they start to settle in,” Mazey said. “His first three innings, he wasn’t settled in yet. His last three were way better than the first, second and third. It’s hard to measure what that guy has inside his chest. He’s a tremendous leader, competitor and pitcher.”

Wetherholt and White keyed the Mountaineers’ seven-hit attack with two hits apiece.

Stagliano fell to 1-3 after allowing five runs, four of which were earned, over five innings. He struck out five and walked one.

Brait had two of his team’s six hits.

With the result, West Virginia and Oklahoma remained tied atop the Big 12 standings, while Knights fell to ninth in the league.

The Mountaineers go for their seventh straight Big 12 win Sunday afternoon when they seek a second straight sweep in conference play.

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Morgantown police oversight board considers funding request for community survey

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The Morgantown Civilian Police Review and Advisory Board plans to move forward with a community survey to better understand the perceptions of policing in the community, which could cost about $10,000 or less.

Rachel Fetty

Vice Chair Rachel Fetty said they want to have a clear understanding of what the community wants, not one specific group.

“We are here to make proposals; we are here to take into consideration the feelings of the folks that want us to be here,” Fetty said. “It will help to know, with as much detail as possible, what that perception is.”

One approach suggested by board member Megan Gandy is a community-based participatory action research study. The approach puts the researcher together with community partners to design and administer the survey. It’s a three-part process that includes focus groups, paper surveys, and interviews.

“We want to think about doing it with high-quality data,” Gandy said. “We don’t want to do something that’s only going to capture the views of some people and exclude the views of other people.”

Megan Gandy

Much of the research would be completed by Gandy, an Associate Professor in the West Virginia University School of Social Work, and her students during the summer.

“One of the things that is key to this process is getting input from multiple stakeholders,” Gandy said. “That includes the police department, members of the community, and special stakeholder groups, so we can capture the opinions of everybody.”

The cost of the survey could be up to about $10,000 and would include the production of a paper survey, the purchase of a mailing list, and postage. The cost decreases with options other than the community-based participatory action research study, but so does the quality of the input, according to Gandy.

“The post card would link people to an online survey, and the paper survey would be the whole thing that they could fill out and mail back to us,” Gandy said.

Fetty told members of the board she was willing to get involved in the collection process once the method was established.

“For example, I would be willing to go down to an encampment, take a computer, and let folks take the survey online—kind of old-school social work-type stuff,” Fetty said.

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Photo gallery: Morgantown defeats George Washington, 6-2

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Photo gallery from Morgantown’s 6-2 win over George Washington in a McDonald’s Classic game at Dale Miller Field.

(Photo gallery by Teran Malone)

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Lincoln walks it off in extra innings against East Hardy, 8-7

SHINNSTON, W.Va. — In a game that featured six lead changes, Lincoln earned a walk-off victory over East Hardy, 8-7 in 8 innings. The game was part of the annual McDonald’s Classic.

The teams traded runs in the first inning before Lincoln (2-7) scored three runs in the second inning to build a 4-1 lead. No. 10 East Hardy (5-3) scored once in the third and three more times in the fifth to take a 5-4 lead. However, Lincoln scored a run without the benefit of a base hit in the bottom of the seventh to tie the game at 5 and send it to extra innings.

East Hardy regained the advantage by scoring two runs in the top of the eighth. However, Lincoln completed their final comeback with a three-run frame that was capped by Colton Edwards scoring on a wild pitch.

Christian Mazzei earned the victory for Lincoln by pitching the game’s final three innings. Levi Mongold pitched effectively in relief for East Hardy. He allowed three runs [one earned] in 6 1/3 innings.

Noah Sears led Lincoln at the plate. He went 3-for-4 with a walk. Maddox Perine went 2-for-3 with a walk.

Evan Hamilton and Levi Price each had multi-hit games for East Hardy.

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Photo gallery: Fairmont Senior defeats Pendleton County, 12-1

FAIRMONT, W.Va. — Photo gallery from Fairmont Senior’s 12-1 win over Pendleton County in the McDonald’s Classic.

(Photo gallery by Teran Malone)

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PSC approves new solar power plant for Mineral County

MINERAL COUNTY, W.Va. — The state Public Service Commission has approved a 100-megawatt solar power plant with a battery storage system in Mineral County.

Since there were no letters of protest sent in to the PSC about the plant, the commission canceled a hearing planned for April 25 on the siting certificate of Potomac Hills Energy, LLC. The company is owned by Energix US, LLC, out of Arlington, VA. They applied for the site certification on December 20, 2023.

The company estimates construction on the plant will have a $64.7 million economic impact for Mineral County with the facility representing an investment of $243 million. The plant is expected to sit on 650 acres that used to be used for strip mining.

According to the energy site OGM.com, a 100-megawatt solar power plant can generate enough electricity to power approximately 60,000 homes for a day.

“The Commission welcomes all forms of energy coming into West Virginia,” PSC Chairman Charlotte R. Lane said.

Commission staff expect the plant to have a useful projected life of 35 years.

Along with the wholesale generating facility, the company also proposed a 200-MWh battery storage system with the plant. The company’s plan is to install 265,000 solar photovoltaic modules.

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Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston name new superintendent of schools

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A new superintendent of Catholic Schools for the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston has been selected.

Most Rev. Mark Brennan, Bishop of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, announced Friday that Jennifer Hornyak has been named to that position. She has served as interim superintendent of Catholic Schools since July 1, 2023.

Hornyak has been a part of the Department of Catholic Schools in the diocese for almost 23 years. She previously served as the Associate Superintendent in the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston for seven years and as the Director of Educational Technology.

For the past 10 years, Hornyak has taught online and in-person education courses as an adjunct instructor in the Educational Department at Wheeling University.

Most Rev. Brennan said Hornyak has shown a great deal of commitment to the Catholic identity.

“I am pleased to appoint Jennifer Hornyak as superintendent of our Catholic Schools,” Bishop Brennan said. “Since being named interim superintendent, she has shown a great love not only for our students, but also for the staff and administration of our schools.”

Hornyak has earned two undergraduate degrees from Wheeling (Jesuit) University and a master’s degree in educational technology and a graduate certificate in School Technology Coordination from Boise State University. Also, from Villanova University, she earned a Certificate in Catholic School Management.

“I am truly grateful for this opportunity to lead the Catholic schools across the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston,” Hornyak said. “It is a privilege to be entrusted with the responsibility of guiding our schools in faith formation and academic growth of our students. I am very proud of the strong tradition of Catholic education of providing intense academic rigor within the context of our Catholic faith, here in West Virginia.”

“I look forward to continuing to work collaboratively with our extremely dedicated principals, teachers, and staff to continue to make our schools the best that they can be,” she added. “Working in partnership with parents, the primary teachers of their children, we have an important role to help each child recognize, develop, and share their God-given talents.”

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