Hot start propels Frankfort over Hedgesville 9-4

Chapin Jewell
Mineral Daily News-Tribune
Frankfort's Peyton Clark makes an attempt to score but is tagged out at the plate just prior to colliding with the umpire. Clark had two hits and an RBI to help Frankfort to a 9-4 victory over Hedgesville.

SHORT GAP - After a disappointing loss to Hedgesville at Hedgesville the night before, Frankfort looked to rebound against the Eagles the next day in Short Gap, and did they ever. It turns out the six runs Frankfort scored in the home half of the first inning would be all they needed in the 9-4 victory on Thursday.

“It was a big win over Hedgesville, a great program that came in 11-2 and got us last night in a good game. It was a good game today, neither team makes a lot of mistakes defensively so you have to earn everything you do,” Frankfort coach Matt Miller stated after the game.

“They are extremely well-coached, their program is headed in the right direction, they were in the state tournament years ago. So, it’s a big win over a AAA school like that any day. They beat us last night and we beat them today,” Miller opined.

It all started in an explosive first inning for the Falcons. Hedgesville opened the top half of the first inning with one run, then Frankfort responded and in a big way, scoring six runs of their own. What follows is how that bottom of the first inning played out.

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Andrew Lynch opened things up for Frankfort with a double. Lynch advanced to third on a passed ball. Brady Whitacre then singled on a hard ground ball to score Lynch.  Ben Nestor then doubled on a line drive to left field, advancing Whitacre to third. Two batters later, Tyler White singled on a ground ball to second base, scoring both Whitacre and Nestor to give Frankfort the 3-1 edge with one out.

Next, Andy Westfall walked, putting him on first and advancing White to second. Jansen Moreland then singled to center field, advancing White to third and Westfall to second to load the bases. Connor McDonald then walked, scoring White to make it 4-1, and advancing everyone a base, still with the bases loaded. Jesse Hockaday then walked, scoring Westfall to make it 5-1, and advancing everyone a base, still with the bases loaded.

Andrew Lynch next hit a sacrifice fly to center field, scoring Moreland to bring the first inning final tally to 6-1 in favor of the Falcons.

“We hit the ball well early and we were patient at the plate early. We didn’t swing at any bad pitches and we attacked fastballs like we preach, which is something we haven’t done the first five games of the season,” Miller explained.

According to Miller, “It was good to jump on fastballs today and hit the ball hard and get started early. We got good leadership from the top of the lineup they got us rolling, and hit pretty much all day, even the innings we didn’t score we put them in different, tough situations.”

Hedgesville could only respond with one run in the top of the second inning to cut the Frankfort lead to 6-2. Frankfort responded in the bottom of the fourth inning with two additional runs of their own. In that fourth inning, Brady Whitacre singled and then was hit home by Ben Nestor on a triple to make it 7-2. Peyton Clark then singled on a hard ground ball to center field to score Nestor and propel Frankfort to an 8-2 lead.

Hedgesville earned one run in the sixth inning to inch closer at 8-3. Frankfort responded with an additional run in the bottom of the sixth inning when Tyler White singled, scoring Andrew Lynch who started the inning getting on base with the help of an error.  

Heading into the seventh inning, Frankfort led 9-3.  Hedgesville scored one run in the seventh, but it wasn’t enough as Frankfort grabbed the 9-4 victory.

“How about David Jackson, second start of his high school career,” Matt Miller stated. “It’s early season, he’s working hard to get his pitch counts up and then throws 100 and some pitches today to get a win. I’m very proud of that kid.”

David Jackson went the full seven innings for Frankfort in the win, striking out two, walking one, giving up four runs on eight hits.

“The game plan today was five and two. But, he kept his pitch count down early. Two of those innings, I think the fourth and the fifth, it was a six pitch inning and an eight pitch inning, which really helped us get through the bottom part of the order and keep his pitch count down,” Miller stated. “I don’t like going to 100, but he kept telling me he was good to go, and obviously he was, he got the job done.”

Thomas Budka, AJ Fador, and Jaxson Ruest combined on the mound in the loss for Hedgesville. Collectively, the trio struck out four, walked four, and gave up nine runs on 13 hits.

Ben Nestor and Tyler White led Frankfort with three hits each. White added three RBI’s and scored a run; Nestor added an RBI and scored two runs. Brady Whitacre, Jansen Moreland, and Peyton Clark each had two hits for the Falcons. Whitacre added an RBI and scored two runs; Moreland scored one run and Clark added an RBI.

Also for Frankfort, Andrew Lynch had a hit, added an RBI and scored two runs; Andy Westfall scored a run; Connor McDonald and Jesse Hockaday each added an RBI.

Tyler West and Cam Lady led Hedgesville offensively with two hits each.

It was a big win for Frankfort, not just because it was a nice rebound from a loss the day before to the same team, but because Hedgesville is a quality AAA opponent.  Don’t discount the fact that this was a swing game.  At 2-3 before the game, 3-3 feels a great deal better than 2-4 would have.

“When you play our schedule, you’ve got some teams in there that are tough. We’ve played one AA team so far, everything else has been a AAA school and they are a lot bigger than us. But, it’s baseball, we compete, that’s what we do, and I’m not going to change the schedule it’s always going to be like this. It prepares us for late runs and that’s why we do it. It is nice to get back to even,” Miller explained.

Frankfort (3-3) next hosts North Marion Friday at 5:30 in a big regional matchup.