Wild Things beat Miners, sweep series

July 3, 2014

The formula is pretty simple.

Mix a great group effort from the pitching staff with clutch hitting. Take advantage of mental mistakes and play error-free baseball.

That concoction can produce a lot of victories and there was no better example of it than Thursday night, when the Washington Wild Things routed Southern Illinois 7-1 Thursday at Consol Energy Park to sweep the three-game series and send the Miners five games back in the East Division standings.

The Wild Things’ pitching staff allowed only three runs in the three games and got outstanding performances from Scott Dunn in a 2-1 win in Game 1 of Wednesday’s doubleheader and from Shawn Blackwell, who moved his record to 5-0 last night with a complete game, struck out nine and lowered his ERA to 2.58.

“This was probably the best game I pitched this year,” said Blackwell. “I wanted to go out and attack the hitters and that’s what I did. Jim (Vahalik) and I had a good game plan.”

Blackwell retired 13 of the last 14 and gave up only a triple that led to the Miners only run in the ninth. He was backed by a 15-hit attack and an error-free game.

“We win a lot of games in different ways,” Blackwell said. “We played solid defense, we have great hitters and we want to keep it going.”

The Miners were swept for only the second time this season and had just 16 hits in the three-game series.

For the third game in a row, the Wild Things took advantage of mental errors by Southern Illinois. In the fifth inning, C.J. Beatty had a delayed steal of second base when Miners catcher Phil Butler made a lazy toss back to starter Rick Teasley (5-1). Beatty came around to score on a single by Stewart Ijames.

Washington won Game 1 of Wednesday’s doubleheader when Daniel Poma scored on a wild pitch in extra innings, and another Miners’ wild pitch with a runner on third tied Game 2 in the fifth.

“(Coach Bob Didier) and I talked about his throws in the dugout,” said Beatty, who had three hits and knocked in two runs. “He likes to lob it back. When I got on base … he did it again and as soon as he let it go, I took off. It was perfect and so rewarding. It made a difference because I scored.”

Designated hitter Maxx Garrett went 2-for-3 with two RBI and Vahalik went 2-for-4 with a run and RBI. Center fielder Daniel Poma went 2-for-4, scored a run and knocked in a run. In the three games, Poma went 4-for-9 and scored three of the Wild Things’ 12 runs.

The only problem the Wild Things had in this game was holding onto the bats. Stewart Ijames, a lefty, launched his bat over the head of first base coach Bob Bozzuto by a good 15 feet. In the fifth inning, Sam Montgomery, a righty, sent a spiralling projectile over past manager Bart Zeller, who was coaching third base, into the wall just past the Miners dugout.

Southern Illinois scored its only run of this game when Chris Burke tripled down the left field line and came home on a sacrifice fly to right field by Ryan Cavan.


Carter Bell had three hits for Washington … Attendance was 1,625 … The Wild Things signed infielder Jarod Jamerson, a 24-year-old right-handed hitter, to bring the roster to 23. Jamerson replaces Yeury Tejada, who returned to his home in the Dominican Republic. Jamerson is a product of New Mexico Highlands University in Las Vegas, N.M. The 6-0, 175-pounder played for the Goodyear Centennials in the Freedom League last year and batted .233 in 10 games. “He worked out for us a couple days ago,” said Zeller. “We needed another infielder.” As a senior at New Mexico Highlands, Jamerson hit .300 in 34 games with one home run and 15 RBI. Jamerson pinch-hit in the eighth and struck out.

Joe Tuscano has been with the Observer-Reporter since 1980. He has covered all sports for the newspaper, including the Steelers, Pirates, Pitt football, local college football and wrestling. He has worked for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Jeannette News-Dispatch and North Hills Record. He graduated from Duquesne University in 1980.

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