Rebels capitalize on Cannons’ misfire

By Ryan Decker – The Journal (Martinsburg, W.Va.)

SHENANDOAH JUNCTION, W.Va. — The defense for the Charles Town Cannons (6-8) has been suspect at times in key spots this season.

An error in the fifth led to a big inning for New Market (8-6) and dismantled the great pitching performance that had belonged to Adam Parks to that point.

The error, committed by shortstop Hayden Cronenbold, led to five unearned runs in the Rebels’ easy 8-2 victory over the Cannons.

“To be on the road and play the way we did tonight is good,” Rebels manager C.J. Rhodes said. “Tonight, it was being able to try to capitalize when we can and be aggressive when we can.”

Parks had retired every batter he faced through the first four innings, striking out four Rebel batters.

He got the first batter of the inning to ground out before Derek Peterson broke up the potential no-hitter with a single. Parks retired the next batter. The Rebels’ Kevin Casey then hit what looked to be a sure-fire, inning-ending, ground ball to Cronenbold. However, Cronenbold booted the ball and both runners were safe.

“We’ve had some bad defensive plays in some crucial points in the game,” Cannons manager Bobby Rauh said. “A lot of times you can make those errors, and they won’t end up biting you. But a lot of times they have ended up biting us in important moments.”

The inning fell apart from there.

After a wild pitch moved both runners into scoring position, Kevin McMenamin hit a single to center, driving in both runners. Brandon Gum made it 5-0 with a bases-clearing bloop single.

“As we got to [Parks], the main thing was once we got on base to find a way to scrap something on the board,” Rhodes said. “An error at short, then a little blooper scores three. All of those things come from continuing to have the approach they had.”

The Cannons had an opportunity of their own when they loaded the bases with three straight singles to lead off the inning.

Matt Durst, who was named last week’s Valley Baseball League’s Player of the Week, came up to bat but could not come through as he grounded into a double play.

After loading the bases to begin the inning, Charles Town was only able to scratch across one run off the bat of Alabama State product, Waldyvan Estrada.

The Rebels scored another unearned run in the sixth after a Ryan Seiz ground ball got under the glove of first baseman Spence Rahm. Seiz advanced to second base on the play and then to third on a wild pitch.

Peterson drove in Seiz in to give the Rebels a five-run cushion once again.

New Market tacked on two more runs in the top of the ninth to go up 8-1. Ray Lopez and Casey both scored during Nicholas Lustrino’s at-bat. Lopez came home on another wild pitch and Casey on a single.

The Cannons managed one run in the bottom of the ninth as Tyler Hibbert drove in Kraig Kelly with one out.

Charles Town outhit New Market, 10-8. However, the two errors the Cannons committed on the defensive side led to six unearned runs.

Four Charles Town hitters had multi-hit games. Estrada led the game with three hits. Hibbert, Michelotti and Cronenbold all had two hits.

“Waldyvan has been hitting well for us all season,” Rauh said. “Michelotti has had great swings all year and his balls are finally finding holes getting hits. Everybody’s been contributing in their own way.”