GLEN DALE -During play of the initial 24 Beast of the East tournaments, no local team has been able to work its way into the championship round and have an opportunity to be crowned as 19-and-under champion on Sunday evening.
Moundsville Post 3, however, should have that chance this season as manager Bill Burkett watched his squad dominate play in its pool and finish with a 4-0 record, allowing one run in 28 innings.
After having a pair of games washed out on Friday, Post 3 returned to play Saturday and continued its heavy hitting and outstanding pitching to record another sweep.
Shane Wellman allowed five hits, three of them coming in the third inning, and Ryan Hughes capped a huge day at the plate with a solo home run as Moundsville picked up a hard-fought 4-1 victory against the Andy 9ers' on a muggy Saturday afternoon at John Marshall High School.
That victory followed Mark Walker's two-hit, 8-0, gem against the Chillicothe 747 Colts on Saturday morning in which Hughes collected three singles, a triple and an RBI.
"We are really playing great ball right now," Burkett said while smiling. "I don't do the scheduling, but we haven't lost a game so I have to believe we will be in the first-place tournament (Sunday)."
Andy's hard-luck starting pitcher Michael Houdek had sat the first five hitters down in order before Moundsville caught a break in the top of the second on a two-out Jeremiah Fromhart single and a 9ers error that allowed him to take second, followed by Austin Pegg's run-producing base hit to left for a 1-0 advantage.
Post 3 added to the lead in the third on a long fly ball off the bat of Hughes that hit the top of the left-field fence and bounced over for a home run, the first one a Moundsville player has hit in Glen Dale all summer.
Andy's 9ers came to life in the the third, getting a one-out walk and playing station-to-station baseball will consecutive singles from Cody Paterniti, Jacob Shick and an RBI base hit from Sean Farrell to make it 2-1. However, a ground ball back to Wellman began the 1-2-3 double-play that prevented any further damage in the frame.
The 9ers' run was the first allowed by Post 3 pitching in the tournament, an official total of 23 innings in all.
Moundsville added some insurance in the seventh when Wellman singled down the third base line with one down, Hughes followed with a single to right-center and Mitchel French ripped an RBI double into the right-field gap. Ryan Walton added a run-scoring single to send Post 3 to the bottom of the seventh with a 4-1 upper hand.
Wellman fanned seven and walked two in throwing 93 pitches overall, 23 of those coming in the seventh frame. Houdek pitched right with him before being removed with one out in the seventh. The 9ers starter threw 81 pitches and had limited Moundsville to just six hits before allowing three hits and a pair of runs in the final frame.
"We are hitting the ball well and getting good pitching and when you put them together most of the time you are going to be successful," Burkett added. "Wherever they send us (today) we will show up and play and hopefully pick up some more wins."
Leading 3-0 in the opener, Post 3 pushed across four runs in the fourth and finished the contest with 17 hits in all. Along with Hughes, Walton had a single, double and two RBI as did Zach Winland. Walker sat down five on strikes while walking three in earning a complete game victory.
While pitching is always a concern on the last day of the Beast, Burkett may be in good shape with former John Marshall, and current West Liberty University standout, Jake Lucas expected to make his first appearance in the event today.