GRAFTON—The Grafton High School baseball team took to Upton Field on Friday evening to honor their lone senior, Chris Miller, prior to the first pitch of their contest with Preston County High School.
Grafton entered the game without a single win on the season, and set out to change that, under the leadership of head coach Bartsel Keener, who have been encouraging his young team to play loose and remain confident through their struggles and losses.
The Cats did just that. Hoping to turn the back half of their season around, the team rallied to their first win of the season.
Miller opened offense for Grafton in the second, driving one in on a single.
The Cats went on to rack up two additional runs in the second, three in the third and drive in five runs in the fifth inning. The fifth was won by the offensive performance of Alex Hess and Cole Mooney, who drove in all five of those runs.
Despite giving up five runs in the sixth inning, the Bearcats prevailed to claim the 11-6 victory over the Preston Knights.
Keener explained that the victory was a hard earned one for the team, as they faced a difficult sixth inning when the Knights’ batting came to life, and they knocked in five runs, including a homer.
After the homerun, Keener called a time out to encourage his team telling them, “You have never been here before. It’s one out at a time to close out this game.”
With Keener’s words of support swarming in their heads, the Bearcats came out of the time out, ready to take the win.
To close out the tough inning, Dustin Keener came home from second base, giving his team the momentum they needed to close out the contest with a win.
“Then Miller put his team on his shoulders in the final inning, recording three straight strike outs to finish the game,” explained Keener.
The competition also proved to be a battle of the pitchers, as they were frequently faced with runners on base.
For Grafton Miller took to the mound and is credited with the win, going for seven innings, allowing six runs on five hits and striking out 11.
On the mound for the Knights were Layton and McNew, who combined for ten strike outs, and allowed the Cats 11 runs on eight hits.
Leading the Bearcats in hits were Tanner Moats and Austin Mayle, the pair each connected with two on the night.
“This was a team win,” Keener voiced. “The players did what I asked them to do. They were confident. We needed this win. The players needed to see that their work is paying off and for total team confidence.”
Individual Box Scores:
Isaac Lough: AB-3, R-3,H-1, RBI-0, BB-1,SO-0, Dustin Keener: AB-3, R-3,H-0, RBI-0, BB-1,SO-3, Tanner Moats: AB-4, R-2,H-2, RBI-1, BB-0,SO-0, Austin Mayle: AB-2, R-2,H-2, RBI-0, BB-1,SO-0, Chris Miller: AB-3, R-0,H-1, RBI-1, BB-1,SO-1, Alex Hess: AB-3, R-0,H-1, RBI-1, BB-0,SO-1, Treyson Nose: AB-3, R-1,H-1, RBI-1, BB-0,SO-1, Cole Mooney: AB-3, R-0,H-0, RBI-1, BB-0,SO-1, Isaiah Vanscoy: AB-3, R-0,H-0, RBI-0, BB-0,SO-3, Garrett Hutson: AB-0, R-2,H-0, RBI-0, BB-0,SO-0.
TB: A. Hess, A. Mayle, T. Nose, T. Moats- 2, C. Miller, I. Lough, HBP: D. Keener, A Mayle, SB: D. Keener, G. Huston, A. Mayle, T. Nose, T. Moats-2, I. Lough, LOB:3
C. Miller: IP-7.0, H-5, R-6, ER-4, BB-0, SO-11, HR-1
W: C. Miller, P-S: C. Miller, 94-71, HBP: C. Miller, BF: C. Miller, 29.