The Pittsburgh Pirates Short Season-A affiliate, the West Virginia Black Bears, hosted the very first playoff game at Monongalia County Ballpark on Thursday, September 10th. After being rained out the previous night, the weather looked like it could be a factor again but the rain stayed away. The opponent, the Williamsport Crosscutters, come in to the series as the top seed in the New York Penn League playoffs while the Black Bears are the Wild Card. If you have followed our recaps, you know that games between these two clubs are usually very close.
Daniel Arribas, the Black Bears Designated Hitter, led off the bottom of the second inning with an absolute blast to left center field that went off the scoreboard here at Monongalia County Ballpark to give the Black Bears an early 1-0 lead. In the bottom of the fifth, Daniel Arribas would come to bat with the bases loaded. He would hit a sacrifice fly that scored Mitchell Tolman to give the Black Bears a 2-0 lead. In the top of the seventh, Crosscutters left fielder Venn Biter would lead off the inning with a triple. He would later score on a sacrifice fly to cut the lead to 2-1. After a walk to Zach Coppola, Coach Wyatt Toregas would lift Black Bears starting pitcher Dario Agrazal for reliver Tate Scioneaux. Tate would get the next batter to ground out to end the inning. Then, in the eighth and ninth, Tate would shut the door on the Crosscutters, striking out five of the seven batters he faced.
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The Black Bears offense was led by Daniel Arribas with one hit and two RBIs. Mitchell Tolman added two hits. Christian Kelley and Logan Hill each added a hit. Carlos Munoz had a three for four night at the plate.
The Black Bears sent Dario Agrazal to the mound for this match up and he would not disappoint. Another strong outing as he went 6.2 innings and allowed just one run on five hits, walked two and struck out five. Tate Scioneaux pitched 2.1 innings in relief and shut the door earning the save while allowing just one hit and striking out five.
I had a chance to chat with Carlos Munoz about his performance tonight. He had three hits and then had a deep fly ball to the warning track in right center on his fourth at bat. He has been adjusting rather well to his call up from the Bristol Pirates in the Appalachian League.
Daniel Arribas talked about his home run
Coach Wyatt Toregas gave us several soundbites about the game and the series..
Now the series shifts to Williamsport for Game Two on Friday. Game Three will also be played at Williamsport, if necessary. If the Black Bears win on Friday, the Championship Series would begin in Morgantown, WV on Saturday night. If the series goes three games and the Black Bears win, the Championship series would begin on Sunday in Morgantown.
UPDATE: Now the series shifts to Williamsport for Game Two on Friday and Game Three on Saturday, if necessary. In the event of a Black Bears win in Game Two or Three, Game One of the League Championship is set to be held at Monongalia County Ballpark at 4:05pm on Sunday, September 13th against the Staten Island Yankees. The Staten Island Yankees have completed a two game sweep of the Tri-City ValleyCats and will await the winner.
Make sure to tune in to Rum Bunter as we continue to provide coverage of not only the Pittsburgh Pirates but of the West Virginia Black Bears throughout the season!