PETERSBURG - In discussing this upcoming season of baseball, Frankfort head coach Matt Miller highlighted games against Keyser, Berkeley Springs and Petersburg as key games, “because they matter and every one of them is a big deal.”

By Chapin Jewell
Tribune Correspondent
PETERSBURG - In discussing this upcoming season of baseball, Frankfort head coach Matt Miller highlighted games against Keyser, Berkeley Springs and Petersburg as key games, “because they matter and every one of them is a big deal.”
After Frankfort’s 9-4 victory over Petersburg on a chilly Wednesday night in the South Branch Valley, Miller and the Falcons can now move Frankfort versus Petersburg part one into the success column.  While a long season awaits, it’s certainly good to get off on the right foot in sectional play.
The Falcons essentially won the game in the first inning, scoring seven runs in an offensive barrage that heated the cold and windy Grant County air. While the Falcons scored seven runs after pounding hit after hit in the first inning, they yielded only two runs to the home standing Vikings in their part of the first frame. As the two teams would produce two more runs each for the remainder of the game, that first inning 7-2 first-inning advantage sealed the deal in Frankfort’s favor.
“We came out with a sense of purpose; we took a more aggressive mindset to the plate than Saturday and were mentally ready to play.  Zack (Whitacre) set the table in the first inning and Caleb (Hare) sparked the fire with his triple and everyone else fed off of that,” coach Miller said of Frankfort’s fast start.
In that first inning, leadoff hitter Zack Whitacre walked to get on base.  Caleb Hare then came to the plate and tripled Whitacre home from first base to get the first run. Chandler Rhodes then singled to bring Hare in for run number two. Clean up hitter Brady Whitacre then doubled to bring Rhodes in for run number three. That’s three runs in the first four at bats.
Next, Brendan Whiteman would walk. Sebastian Stewart would then reach first base on an error bringing in pinch runner Peyton Clark for run number four. Damon Stewart next grounded out but allowed Brendan Whiteman to score the fifth run. Michael White would then reach first base on an error, allowing Sebastian Stewart to claim run number six. Finally, Jansen Moreland singled to bring Michael White in for Frankfort’s seventh and final run of the inning.
When it was Petersburg’s turn at the plate, it looked at first like they may match Frankfort’s offensive explosion with a barrage of runs of their own. Peyton Sindledecker tripled to get things started for the Vikings. Tyce Wisnewski then singled to bring Sindledecker in for the Vikings’ first run. Wisnewski would score two batters later on a fielder’s choice, bringing the score to 7-2 Frankfort, and that would be the final score of the inning.
“We had a lot of good at bats throughout the game. Chandler (Rhodes) had a big two RBI double that broke it open and then we just had to play solid defense. The pitchers did a great job for us. With the cold weather, they knew it was all hands on deck, and the four guys that threw did an excellent job,” Miller stated.
The Falcons tacked on runs eight and nine in the third inning when Chandler Rhodes hit the ball and was thrown out at third, but not before Zack Whitacre and Caleb Hare could score. At that point, Frankfort held a 9-2 lead in third inning. The Falcons would not score again.
Petersburg would add one run each in the fifth and sixth innings, but would ultimately fall short to the Falcons 9-4.
Frankfort was led in hitting by Chandler Rhodes and Caleb Hare, each with two hits.  Rhodes had three RBI’s and scored a run of his own.  Hare tripled and had a single, ultimately scoring two runs of his own with also one RBI.  Also earning hits were Zack Whitacre, Michael White, Damon Spencer, Jansen Moreland and Brady Whitacre.  Brendan Whiteman drew three walks, brothers Zack and Brady Whitacre walked twice.
Hunter Pool led Petersburg with four singles in four at bats. Peyton Sindledecker and Blake Loy added two hits for the Vikings.
On the mound, Zack Whitacre earned the win, striking out three, walking one, giving up four hits and two runs in two innings pitched.  Caleb Hare pitched for an inning, giving up only one hit.  Michael White went two and one-thirds inning, striking out three, walking three, giving up three hits and one run. Finally, Mason Davis went one and two-thirds innings, striking out two, walking one, and gave up three hits and one run.
Petersburg employed four pitchers on the night; Hunter Pool went two innings and gave up seven runs, Dawson Tingler went three innings giving up two runs, and Wyatt Arbaugh and Seth Cullers pitched an inning each.
While more than satisfied with the victory, Matt Miller, like every coach, sees room for improvement, “The three things we need to clean up is not giving teams extra bases on defense with throws that aren’t needed and cutting off balls to the outfield; we were a little too aggressive on the bases a few times, and we looked at too many strike threes.”
Overall, Miller was happy with the effort and is happy to get that first sectional win against a key and quality opponent like Petersburg.  According to Miller, “I was very happy with the early game offensive approach.  We played a lot more like we are capable of playing Wednesday night.”  After the win, the Falcons advanced to 1-1 on the season.