Eight area tennis standouts head to states
From Staff reports
    The Big 10 Conference will send eight tennis players to the state championships after they won singles and doubles finals at the Class AA-A Region I championships at Robert C. Byrd on Wednesday.
    Bridgeport’s Tommy Joyce and Kenan Bell won the No. 1 and 2 singles titles, respectively, then combined to win the No. 1 doubles title.
    Grafton’s Eric Molina won the No. 4 singles title and combined with Zane Cartwright for the No. 3 doubles title. Jonathan Marshall and Derek McDaniels of Grafton won the No. 2 doubles.
    Grafton placed first in the team standings with 29 points. Petersburg was second with 25 points followed by Bridgeport (21), Braxton County (11), Notre Dame (10), Liberty (9) and Lincoln (8).
    In girls action, Jennifer Teagarden won the No. 1 singles, before joining with Jennifer Byers to claim the No. 1 doubles championship.
    Grafton was second in the girls team standings with 21 points, eight behind Petersburg. Braxton (19) was third followed by Frankfort (17), Bridgeport (13), Liberty (9), Lincoln (7) and Notre Dame (6).
    The winners will compete in the state championships on May 13-15 at Watt Powell Park in Charleston.

    LINCOLN  18, Lewis County 1: Danny Hardesty went 4-for-4 with two runs scored and three RBIs and Clarence Fiber went 3-for-4 with two runs scored and three RBIs in Lincoln’s five-inning rout.
    Lincoln (9-13) jumped out to a 9-1 lead after two innings and put the game away with a nine-run fourth. Roy Sampson hit a home run and finished with three runs and four RBIs.
    Ryan Nuzum went 2-for-3 with two runs and got the win. He scattered six hits and gave up the lone Lewis County run in the first inning.
    Lincoln is home today against Grafton. Game time is 4:30 p.m.
    DODDRIDGE 12, Tyler Consolidated 0: Sophomore BenJo McKinney drove in six runs with a grand slam and a two-run single to lead Doddridge County (11-12) in a non-conference game. McKinney homered in the third inning with one out to make it 12-0.
    Doddridge pitcher Jake Juliano shut out Tyler on three hits over the five innings for his third win in as many decisions.
Juliano struck out six, and walked two. Rick Gray also went 3-for-4 with two RBIs, while Chris Gum, Juliano and David Hoskinson all had two hits.
    McKinney now has four home runs, 31 RBIs and is hitting near .500 on the season, Doddridge County coach David Mires said. “He’s playing real steady defense and he’s steady at bat. For a sophomore he’s doing great,” he said.  “Last year he hit .388 as a freshman, so he’s progressing more than would be expected.”
    UNIVERSITY 5, Bridgeport 4: Class AAA No. 10 University used a five-run fifth inning to erase an 1-0 deficit before holding off Bridgeport.
    After playing a doubleheader on Tuesday, Bridgeport’s offense was sluggish until the sixth inning. It was able to score three in the sixth to cut the lead to 5-4, but could get no closer.
    Joe Honce suffered the loss for Bridgeport (18-8) and went 2-for-3 with a solo home run. Chris Liebig added two RBIs.
Adam Taylor picked up the victory for University, striking out 11 and walking none.
    Bridgeport plays Morgantown today at 4:30 p.m. before traveling to Frank Loria to battle Notre Dame at 7 p.m.


    RITCHIE COUNTY 8, Lincoln 2: Ritchie County scored four runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to help secure the Class AA, Section IV, Region 2 title.
    Lincoln (9-13) was held to just three hits in the contest. “Fatigue definitely caught up to us,” said Lincoln coach Rob Hawkins. “We didn’t change our battery in the two games and that had an effect.
    “I have to give the girls credit, though. They played well defensively. They just ran into an excellent pitcher.”
    LINCOLN  14, Liberty 10: Tamra Wright went 4-for-5 with two doubles and Tracey Vanscoy added three hits as Lincoln beat Liberty (9-12) in semifinal action.
    Jamie Wentz picked up the win for Lincoln and had two hits, while teammates Heather McDonnell and Jennifer Gore each added two hits. Amber Siders doubled for Liberty, while Audra Hamrick suffered the loss.

Huge  fifth inning gives Bridgeport victory over SH
by Charles Casey
    BRIDGEPORT — For four innings South Harrison kept pace with Bridgeport in their Class AA Region II, Section 3 softball game. It took one inning for Bridgeport to change all that.  Bridgeport erupted for nine runs in the fifth inning to earn an 11-1 victory on Wednesday.
    The contest was a pitchers’ duel between Bridgeport’s Beth Guzzi and SH’s Clenta Bond for four innings. Guzzi walked five, but was able to keep SH at bay by recording 11 strikeouts.
    “Beth pitched a pretty good game,” Bridgeport coach Lois Pratt said. “We’ve called her the ‘energizer’ and they’ve called her ‘the little bunny’ but she is really a workhorse.”
    Bond limited Bridgeport to just two runs — one earned — on two hits before the disastrous fifth inning. Bridgeport sent 12 batters to the plate to score nine runs.
    Angie Handschumacher started the uprising with an infield hit. Erica Rome’s infield single and Andrea Rome’s bunt single loaded the bases with no outs.
    Amanda Stanley drew a walk to score Handschumacher before Adrienne Belcastro hit a two-run double to score Erica Rome and pinch-runner Kelley Gray.
    One out later, Guzzi and Tara Moore both walked to reload the bases. Jacquelyn Fleece hit a two-run single, and Curry and Handschumacher added RBI singles.
    Andrea Rome finished the inning with a two-run infield single  scoring Curry and Handschumacher to end the game.
“We were really flat at the beginning of the game,” Pratt said. “I think they were very nervous with this being the beginning of tournament play and also Senior Night.” Bridgeport (20-5) took a 1-0 lead in the third inning on an RBI ground out from Erica Rome.
    Bridgeport added a run in the fourth when courtesy runner Jaclyn Ross stole second and third base before scoring on an error.
    Casey Davisson’s fifth-inning  hit scored Bobbi Jo Devericks to cut the South Harrison deficit to 2-1 before fateful bottom half of the inning. South Harrison (15-6) came in with a 12-game winning streak. Its last loss was also to Bridgeport.
    “We just did not take advantage of the walks in the early innings,” South Harrison coach Gennie Reesman said. “We would get them around in scoring position, but couldn’t get any hits to bring them home.
    “For us to be that close to them like we were heading into the fifth inning is an accomplishment,” Reesman said. “They had put us out very quickly in the two regular season games.”
    Bridgeport and South Harrison battle again today in the double-elimination tournament. Game time set for 5 p.m.

Nehlen: Porter’s now ‘in better spirits’
by Chris Errington
Sports Writer
    When Monongalia County Magistrate Alan Lindamood dismissed felony charges against West Virginia University starting free safety Jerry Porter on Tuesday, it ended one of the darkest periods in the player’s life.
    Still, those who know Porter best say even a summer of healing may not be enough to bring the once permanent smile back to his face.
    “You could tell it really bothered the kid,” WVU coach Don Nehlen said. “His grades went down. He couldn’t concentrate on anything. He was a mess.”
    Nehlen said he’s seen the fourth-year player from Washington, D.C. at his best, like when he intercepted a team-leading five passes, good enough for 13th nationally last season. But Nehlen also said he’s seen Porter at his worst.
“I came into my office one day and he was already here at 7:30 a.m. shaking like a leaf,” Nehlen said. “He kept telling me ‘I didn’t do this coach. Why do they keep doing this to me?’”
    Porter was accused of trying to sell compact discs and cassette tapes stolen from WWVU-FM, the campus radio station, to the Discount Den, a Morgantown radio store, on Jan. 30. But the charges were dropped when Lindamood concluded the property was worth only $760, an amount too small to justify a charge of receiving stolen property. A security videotape from the music store was too poor in quality to make a positive identification of the suspect.
    Porter had told Nehlen he was at a party at the time of the incident. “I knew he didn’t do it because he had so many other players that were with him at the time,” Nehlen said. “I’ve talked with him since (Tuesday’s decision) and he seems in better spirits.”
    Prosecutors are reportedly considering whether to refile the misdemeanor petit larceny charges against Porter, a charge used in cases involving less than $1,000 worth of property.
    WVU secondary coach Tony Pierce said he hoped Tuesday’s decision would signify the end of the case against Porter, but said regardless it would always “be in the back of his mind.”
    “People don’t realize that some of our young guys grow up in rough situations and feel like they’re on their own,” Pierce said.
    “You could tell it bothered him a great deal during spring drills. But I think he handled it as well as any young man without family support could have handled it.” At least that’s the way Porter made it seem, said starting outside linebacker and friend Chris Edmonds.
    Edmonds said Porter would skip trips to WVU’s Mountainlair to avoid stares and snickers from other students. “It’s a whole lot worse when something like this happens to a player because everyone knows you,” Edmonds said.
    Edmonds was linked to a similar incident a year ago when he received a gift bought with a stolen credit card. Charges were later dropped against him, but Edmonds said for athletes in the spotlight even being vindicated in court doesn’t always prove your innocence to fans.
    “Everything that happens blows up in your face no matter what you do. The only thing you can do is not let other people see things are worrying you,” Edmonds said.
    Attempts to reach Porter were unsuccessful.


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