West Virginia Swept in Second 6-1 Loss to Mahoning Valley


GRANVILLE, W.Va. - For the second straight evening, the West Virginia Black Bears fell to the Mahoning Valley Scrappers 6-1 at Kendrick Family Ballpark. The Scrappers jumped out to an early three-run lead in the second inning, while limiting the Bears to one run to sweep the series.

Mahoning Valley led from the jump as they took a three-run lead in the top of the second. With runners on the corners, Beau Ankeney smashed a ball over the Scrappers’ bullpen for a three-RBI home run.

For the Black Bears, Ryan Grabosh led off the bottom of the frame with a base hit. Advancing on a wild pitch and a Jordan Rogers flyout, Grabosch scored off the bat of Joey Spence for the only West Virginia run of the game.

After giving up the three-run homer, starter Dylan Cheeley found his rhythm, retiring the side for the Bears to begin the third inning. But the team would go down in order in the home half to leave the inning scoreless.

Ryan Sleeper took the hill in relief of Cheeley to start the fifth with one out and runners on first and second. Although a flyout advanced Max Johnson to third, Stevenson was tagged on a bunt groundout to first baseman Jack O’Dowd, keeping the Scrappers from extending their lead.

The sixth inning began to slip away from Sleeper as lead-off base runner Joel Dragoo stole second before a single from Will Shannon put him on third. A groundout from Garrett Pike allowed Dragoo to score, and a base hit from Ankeney sent Shannon home to put the Scrappers on top by four. Victor Quinn entered in relief of Sleeper to end the scoring threat with a strikeout, but not before Mahoning Valley took a 5-1 lead.

Hunter Hodges replaced Quinn to begin the eighth inning. Ankeney added an insurance run on a base hit that scored Dragoo to jump ahead by five.

Jackson Kirkpatrick made his pitching debut to close the game for the Bears in the ninth, tossing a strikeout and putting the Scrappers down in order. Kolby Dougan entered to close for the visitors, giving up a hit to Dalton Wentz just shy of a home run. The ground-rule double gave the Black Bears some late-game hope, but two consecutive strikeouts sealed the game for the Scrappers.

Continuing to struggle offensively, West Virginia recorded just five hits with Joey Spence getting the Bears’ only RBI. Starter Dylan Cheeley notched five strikeouts in 4.1 innings with three earned runs. Reliever Victor Quinn ended his evening with two runs and four strikeouts in 2.1 innings pitched.

Scrappers’ Hunter Dryden recorded the win, tossing five strikeouts through six frames while allowing four hits. Beau Ankeney led the offense with three hits, one homerun, and an astonishing five RBI.

With the loss, the Black Bears fell to 9-15 on the season – the worst first-half start since entering the MLB Draft League in 2021. West Virginia takes the road for the first of three consecutive away series beginning with a rematch against the Scrappers at Eastwood Field on July 4. The Black Bears return to Kendrick Family Ballpark on July 12.