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Jefferson scores in every inning to down BU, 16-3

CLARKSBURG, W.Va. — Top-ranked Jefferson scored 13 runs in their final three innings to defeat Buckhannon-Upshur 16-3 in five innings on the opening day of the McDonald’s Classic.

A seven-run fifth inning put the run rule in effect as the Cougars improved to 14-1. Jefferson outhit BUHS 7-3.

Kamien Gonzalez led the Cougars’ offensive attack, going 3-for-3 with two runs batted in and three runs scored. Zac Rose also had a pair of hits for Jefferson.

Jefferson will face No. 3 Bridgeport and George Washington Saturday on the second day of the tournament.

Buckhannon-Upshur fell to 8-7.

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Collin Cottrell K’s 10 as Sissonville blanks RCB, 4-0

CLARKSBURG, W.Va. — Collin Cottrell struck out ten batters and hurled a six-hit shutout as No. 2 Sissonville blanked No. 8 Robert C. Byrd 4-0 in the McDonald’s Classic.

Cottrell only walked one batter and he only allowed multiple base runners in two innings.

Isaiah Ramsey led off the game with a home run for the Indians (13-1). Sissonville tacked on two more runs in the fourth inning with a sacrifice fly from Tristen Pertz and an RBI double from Ramsey. Brayden Purdue capped the scoring with an RBI single to send Dylan Griffith home in the seventh.

Grant Lowther pitched 6 2/3 innings for the Flying Eagles (12-4).

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Bridgeport puts together complete effort in 13-0 victory over Herbert Hoover

BRIDGEPORT, W.Va. — Bridgeport’s Austin Mann tossed five shutout innings, yielding just three singles and effectively pitching to contact against Hebert Hoover in the McDonald’s Classic.

But that only told part of the story for the Indians, who got production throughout the lineup and a grand slam from pinch hitter Drew Bailey to roll past the Huskies, 13-0.

“Drew Bailey had a really nice hit and it was good those guys came in and produced some runs,” BHS coach Robert Shields said. “But the big thing was Austin Mann kept them off balance with his pitching and we made some nice plays behind him in the field.”

The Indians (15-2) went ahead for good in the home half of the second inning, getting a two-RBI single to left from Frank Why, while an error on the play allowed a third run to score. Ryan Goff’s single to left later in the inning brought Why home for a 4-0 lead.

After Mann worked around his only base-on-balls in the third, BHS added to its advantage with three more runs in the bottom of the inning. Aiden Paulsen’s single scored Trent Haines, while Cam Cole’s fielder’s choice allowed Drew Hogue to score. One of four errors from Herbert Hoover (9-7) enabled Paulsen to cross the plate for the third run of the inning and a 7-0 BHS lead.

“We didn’t do anything well today and that’s the result,” Hoover coach JR Oliver said.

Bridgeport pitcher Austin Mann tossed five shutout innings against Herbert Hoover. Photo by Greg Carey/WVMetroNews.com

Bridgeport’s six-run fourth featured Anthony Dixon’s RBI double and a Max Harbert sacrifice fly, before Bailey made the most of his pinch-hit appearance and belted a grand slam over the left field fence.

“The plate appearances are big and good, quality at bats is what we’re trying to stress,” Shields said.

The Tribe finished with 10 hits and drew five walks, tagging Hoover starter Matthew Toops for seven runs on seven hits in 2 2/3 innings.

Mann retired the side in order in the fifth to end the game. Mann struck out two, though he was around the strike zone throughout the contest.

“If we play to our abilities and play the way we know how to play, we can play with anybody and that’s proven,” Oliver said. “Today, we weren’t very good.”

Dixon finished 3-for-3, while Phil Reed and Why each had a pair of hits in the victory.

The Indians did not allow a run in a pair of victories Friday, as they began their day with a 4-0 win over Logan.

“That’s a plus. Those are two quality Double-A teams there,” Shields said. “We really did a good job overall on that.”

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Roberts’ goal sends Marshall past North Carolina, into NCAA title game

— By Dave Walsh

CARY, N.C. — Marshall made the most of its only shot on goal and thus gets to play for college soccer’s national championship Monday night.

Jamil Roberts scored in the 60th minute and the Thundering Herd advanced to the NCAA College Cup title game with a 1-0 victory over North Carolina on Friday at Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park.

Goalkeeper Oliver Semmle made five saves for the Thundering Herd (12-2-3), which will face the winner of the other semifinal between Indiana and Pittsburgh in Monday’s championship match.

This is the deepest run for the Herd in the tournament in program history.

Marshall, ranked No. 10 nationally, eliminated top-seeded Clemson on penalty kicks and then downed Georgetown in the quarterfinals en route to its first semifinal appearance.

Roberts’ goal was his fourth of the season.

On the goal, quick touches throughout the final third set up the play. Milo Josef made an entry pass to Vitor Dias, who set up Roberts in front of the goal and he sent a low shot by Tar Heels keeper Alec Smir.

Five minutes after Marshall’s goal, North Carolina’s Giovanni Montesdeoca hit the crossbar. In the 81st minute, Joe Pickering drilled a shot from 20 yards out that went just over the crossbar.

The No. 16-ranked Tar Heels (9-5-4) outshot the Thundering Herd, 11-1.

Carolina momentarily appeared to draw level on a Jonathan Jimenez rebound in the 88th minute before the official ruled that the ball went out on the corner kick leading up to his touch.

North Carolina was making its ninth overall appearance in the semifinals and won national titles in 2001 and 2011.

It was the first meeting between the two teams.

The Tar Heels played without freshman Akeim Clarke, who received two second-half yellow cards in UNC’s win over Wake Forest and had to sit out a game as a result.

This season, Marshall has outscored its opponents, 29-8. Semmle has now held 10 opponents scoreless, good for second-most in a season in program history.

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Both Molessas homer, Barkley goes the distance in Williamstown’s 11-5 win at South Harrison

LOST CREEK, W.Va. — Williamstown couldn’t have jumped on South Harrison any earlier than it did in Saturday’s contest as part of the McDonald’s Classic.

Yellowjackets’ leadoff hitter Maxwell Molessa hit a home run on the game’s first pitch, and Williamstown never looked back in an 11-5 road victory over the Hawks.

“We try to teach to play each inning as a game,” Williamstown coach Levi Maxwell said. “We try to win the first inning, win the second inning and so forth. Instead of making it one giant game, make it seven short games and try to win all those. That kind of changes our mentality to attack that inning and keep the energy up.”

Williamstown (8-5) finished with 10 hits, including a pair of home runs, and capitalized on five Hawks’ errors to ensure it never trailed.

Ethan Holbert’s fielder’s choice brought Leewood Molessa home for a second run in the top of the first, before South Harrison (9-7) cut its deficit in half on a Wyatt Shears sacrifice fly in the home half of the first.

But that was as close as the Hawks would get, with Chase Barkley working an effective complete game on the mound to pick up the win.

“Coming off a big win over Ravenswood yesterday, we scored eighteen runs, so we’re swinging the bat right now,” Maxwell said. “But we needed a pitching effort today and we got that out of Barkley.”

Williamstown’s Chase Barkley picked up a complete game win at South Harrison. Photo by Greg Carey/WVMetroNews.com

A South Harrison error in the third allowed Andrew Florence to score Williamstown’s third run, and the Yellowjackets doubled their lead to 5-1 in the fourth on a Leewood Molessa two-run homer to left-center field.

“We teach our hitters to attack,” Maxwell said.

Two more SH errors in the fifth, combined with Brady Ankrom and Holbert’s singles and a Maxwell Molessa sacrifice fly enabled the Yellowjackets to build their lead to 8-1.

“In the games that we’ve lost, we’ve given teams five outs an inning,” Hawks’ coach Frank Tate said. “I don’t care how good you are. It’s tough enough to get three outs. When you have to get five or six, it adds to it.”

Baylor Haught’s two-run single in the sixth highlighted a three-run inning for Williamstown that capped the Yellowjackets’ scoring.

The Hawks scored a fifth-inning run on Logan Ross’ single, a sixth-inning run on Nathan Radcliff’s groundout and two more in the seventh on a Ross double and a wild pitch that brought Ross home.

Maxwell Molessa and Leewood Molessa had two hits and two RBIs apiece, while Leewood Molessa scored three runs.

Barkley allowed six hits, issued one walk and did not record a strikeout in the complete game victory. He induced 15 outs in the air.

“We were popping everything up,” Tate said. “At this level, you can’t do that, because those are easy outs. You saw what happened when we hit line drives and hit the ball on the ground. They had trouble fielding it and we found gaps.”

Joshua Thomaschek took the loss for the Hawks after allowing eight runs on nine hits in four-plus innings.

South Harrison responded to its loss to the Yellowjackets with a 15-9 victory over Ritchie County, allowing the Hawks to improve to 10-7.

The Hawks sent 12 batters to the plate in the third inning against the Rebels and led 11-4 after the frame.

Shears finished 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles, RBIs and runs, while Thomaschek was 2-for-2 and scored four times. Radcliff added three RBIs and Justin Herrod connected for a run-scoring triple in the win, which went to Ross after he pitched 5 1/3 innings.

 

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Thornton pitches & hits Morgantown past Logan, 3-1

BRIDGEPORT, W.Va. — Senior Quincy Thornton pitched a three-hitter and had three RBI in Morgantown’s 3-1 win over Logan in the second game of the McDonald’s Classic.

Thornton opened up the scoring with a two-run double in the third inning that scored Caleb Cottle and Jacob Kennell. Thornton capped the scoring with a solo homer in the sixth inning. He allowed just three hits while striking out ten batters for the No. 5 Mohigans (13-2).

Jarron Glick took the loss for No. 5 Logan (7-4). He pitched five innings, allowed just two runs and struck out seven batters. The Wildcats’ run came in the third inning when Konnor Lowe worked out a bases loaded walk to score Glick.

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3 Bridgeport pitchers combine on 1-hitter in win over Logan

BRIDGEPORT, W.Va. — A trio of Bridgeport pitchers yielded just one hit in a 4-0 win over Logan in the opening game of the McDonald’s Classic.

Starting pitcher Ben McDougal struck out nine batters without allowing a hit in 4 2/3 innings before yielding to Cam Cole and Frank Why to record the final seven outs.

The No. 3 Indians (13-2) scored three runs in the first inning. An RBI double by Ryan Goff preceded the Indians scoring runs on an error and a double steal. They completed the scoring in the fifth inning when Cole scored on a wild pitch.

Tyler Fenwick took the loss for the No. 5 Wildcats (7-3). He allowed three runs, but only one was earned. He also struck out four batters.

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Justice says he’ll halt enhanced unemployment benefits next month

Gov. Jim Justice announced today the state will halt enhanced pandemic unemployment benefits at midnight June 19, just before West Virginia Day.

“We’ve got to have you back to work. America is all about work. That’s what’s made this great country,” Justice said during a briefing today. “For us to not be back to work, if you’re just taking advantage of these programs, I think this time is over. That time needs to end, and we need to move forward.”

West Virginia joins other states, including neighboring Ohio, in ending enhanced unemployment benefits instituted as the economy faltered during the covid-19 pandemic.

His announcement drew criticism that the economy is not yet back to normal — and that while some service industry job openings may be returning all at once, other skilled positions are not yet back.

Kelly Allen

“Governor Justice’s decision to follow other states off the cliff and opt out of federal unemployment benefits is neither based in fact nor is it likely to succeed in getting West Virginians back to work by force,” said Kelly Allen, executive director of the West Virginia Center on Budget & Policy.

“In reality, there are still 1.2 unemployed workers for every job opening, meaning that cutting off federal benefits harms West Virginians for whom there will be no job option. And while April’s job numbers were disappointing, low-wage sectors like the restaurant industries were among the fastest growing – the opposite of what you’d expect to see if generous unemployment benefits were keeping people out of the labor force.”

The governor said that would apply to thousands of West Virginia residents who lost jobs or their ability to be self-employed during the pandemic.

His decision will halt an additional $300 payment to unemployment compensation recipients, stop benefits for self-employed or part-time workers who wouldn’t usually qualify, end an extension of benefits for people whose regular benefits have exhausted, and stop an additional $100 benefit for certain people with mixed earnings.

“Now there’s got to be some people out there who are still really struggling, and I’m not talking to you. But I’m talking to the overwhelming majority of those other folks,” Justice said.

“West Virginians will have access to thousands of jobs, right now, and we need everybody back to work.”

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics most recently showed a ratio of 1.2 unemployed people for every opening.

Kayla Young

The job market remains particularly hard for skilled workers who have training for specific fields and for women who may not have reliable childcare, said Delegate Kayla Young, D-Kanawha.

“It’s a complicated problem,” she said. “It’s not as simple as ‘people are lazy and they want to stay home.’ The problem is not as simple as ‘the wage needs to be higher.’ It’s a complicated problem and you have to look at industries. The amount of people who are unemployed is greater than the number of jobs available.”

Young, a small business owner, said a safety net remains necessary for many unemployed people as the economy straightens out. She noted that a requirement for unemployment claimants to seek actively seek work is returning June 1.

“This is a labor problem that is going to fix itself. It’s just starting to,” she said. “So why not let it play out?” she said.

“Those jobs require new industries to come here and investments in our infrastructure. These things take time. It’s not something that just fixes itself in 30 days. It takes time for the labor force to work itself out. I don’t think it takes years, but months.”

Scott Adkins

Workforce West Virginia put out a statement this afternoon saying career specialists are available to help job seekers match with new employment, identifying possible training programs that may result in a changed career path or an apprenticeship program with a competitive wage while learning a new trade.

Job seekers can schedule a live call with someone from WorkforceWV here.

“Workforce West Virginia stands ready to help West Virginians return to the workforce,” said acting WorkForce WV commissioner Scott Adkins. “We know last year was incredibly difficult for many workers in West Virginia and we want to remind folks we are here for them.”

West Virginia lawmakers asked about the employment market during interim meetings earlier this week. Questions were addressed to Chris McCauley, director of unemployment for Workforce West Virginia. The state’s unemployment rate dropped to 6.1 percent in March, he said, down about .8 percent from the prior month.

Eric Tarr

“Do you have any numbers on how long our average person is on unemployment right now, as compared to what would be normal?” asked Senate Finance Chairman Eric Tarr, R-Putnam.

“Out in my district and beyond, I’m seeing a lot of help wanted signs out there. I talked to a gentleman yesterday who said he was 25 people short for his business. I had a restaurant that’s a pretty common restaurant, a national chain restaurant, that was closed during lunch because they didn’t have enough staff to come in and work it. I perceive that there’s a lot of jobs available.”

McCauley responded, “We hear the same concerns and same complaints,” describing another restaurant that had to shut down because it couldn’t find a cook. But he said he’d need to follow up with numbers. “It’s definitely more than the normal.”

Gil White

Gil White, executive director of the National Federation of Independent Businesses, said employers are having trouble finding workers. He advocated for ending the enhanced unemployment benefit.

“It’s a huge problem,” White said. “If you look where we were last year and the covid limitations that were forced on small business owners, and now a year-plus later we’re dealing with a whole different set of problems and that is finding employees willing to come back to previous jobs, which is very challenging.”

White suggested the enhanced unemployment benefits provide a disincentive for returning to work, although he agreed the full picture is complicated.

“Trying to prolong getting back into the workforce is just a disservice across the board,” he said on MetroNews’ “Talkline.” “I don’t think anyone ever thought that would be the problem today we’d be dealing with when these programs were put in place at the federal level.”

Gil White, Executive Director of the National Federation of Independent Businesses in https://t.co/rn6maOBVPd., speaks with @HoppyKercheval about the worker shortage. WATCH: https://t.co/yCFQ3nDJuy pic.twitter.com/cQt9ANW2kI

— MetroNews (@WVMetroNews) May 14, 2021

The governor said his administration is strongly considering a matching bonus for people who re-enter the workforce with employers offering such bonuses. Justice promised more details Monday.

“We’re having a lot of businesses that are willing to step up. And we’re looking at some kind of bonus that could really incentivize our folks to go back to work and really be able to help with this shortfall they may have to endure just a little bit here,” Justice said.

He described the state-funded bonus as a match for an employer offering its own $500 bonus.

“The employee gets a thousand bucks to go back to work if – if – you stay on the job a minimum of 90 days,” Justice said.

But, “If you’re working now and you just transferred jobs and go somewhere else we’re not interested in that. We’re interested in getting these folks back here that are on the sidelines right now.”

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DHHR confirms five COVID-19 deaths in Friday report, another drop in active cases

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The state Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) confirmed five additional COVID-19 related deaths on Friday including a 29-year old male from Mineral County, one of the youngest the state has seen in the pandemic.

Other deaths confirmed by the DHHR report include a 68-year old male from McDowell County, a 93-year old female from Mason County, a 69-year old male from Grant County, and an 85-year old female from Marion County. The statewide death total is now 2,756.

“As we comfort those who mourn, we must take all steps available to prevent further loss of life due to COVID-19,” said Bill J. Crouch, DHHR Cabinet Secretary in a release. “This includes scheduling a COVID-19 vaccination for yourself and all eligible family members.”

Active virus case total in West Virginia fell once again Friday, in a pattern seen this week, to 6,615. It’s the lowest total since March 31 when the state was at 6,499. 297 new cases were added by the DHHR.

Hospitalizations have dropped slightly at 255 patients with 86 of them in intensive care.

46.2% of the state’s overall population, 828,482, has now received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. 38.6% of the state’s population, 691,758, are fully vaccinated.

DHHR reports as of May 14, 2021, there have been 2,824,455 total confirmatory laboratory results received for #COVID19, with 157,923 total cases and 2,756 total deaths. https://t.co/idoB6Hxfrm pic.twitter.com/t89DvQwT5o

— WV Department of Health & Human Resources • 😷 (@WV_DHHR) May 14, 2021

Cases totals per county: Barbour (1,441), Berkeley (12,425), Boone (2,054), Braxton (940), Brooke (2,197), Cabell (8,711), Calhoun (352), Clay (508), Doddridge (602), Fayette (3,454), Gilmer (861), Grant (1,281), Greenbrier (2,814), Hampshire (1,842), Hancock (2,808), Hardy (1,530), Harrison (5,750), Jackson (2,129), Jefferson (4,622), Kanawha (14,993), Lewis (1,202), Lincoln (1,482), Logan (3,152), Marion (4,463), Marshall (3,477), Mason (2,006), McDowell (1,576), Mercer (4,870), Mineral (2,864), Mingo (2,591), Monongalia (9,214), Monroe (1,143), Morgan (1,189), Nicholas (1,716), Ohio (4,214), Pendleton (703), Pleasants (894), Pocahontas (663), Preston (2,897), Putnam (5,172), Raleigh (6,808), Randolph (2,619), Ritchie (708), Roane (632), Summers (825), Taylor (1,229), Tucker (528), Tyler (720), Upshur (1,877), Wayne (3,105), Webster (495), Wetzel (1,351), Wirt (426), Wood (7,796), Wyoming (2,002).

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Justice lifts mask mandate for fully-vaccinated West Virginians

Gov. Jim Justice announced today that he will lift a face coverings requirement for people who have been fully vaccinated.

“This is for those folks that are fully vaccinated, which means you have had both your shots, other than if you’ve taken Johnson & Johnson, and if you’ve had two weeks after the second shot,” Justice said.

The governor said the change would take the form of a revised executive order. He noted that the state’s mask mandate would still apply to those who are not fully vaccinated.

“Our face covering requirement will still apply to all those who have not been vaccinated until June 20,” Justice said. “You do not have a Constitutional right to not wear a mask.”

The governor’s announcement was in line with this week’s Centers for Disease Control & Prevention surprise change to its guidance on face coverings for the covid-19 pandemic.

“Fully vaccinated people can resume activities without wearing a mask or physically distancing, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance,” the CDC said in its updated guidance.

The change still comes with caution in some instances.

For example, people with compromised immune systems should talk to their doctors about continuing with precautions. And even fully vaccinated people may still be asked to wear masks in certain places, such as in hospitals or other health care settings, as well as when using public transportation.

At least eight states lifted mask mandates following the announcement of changed guidance. Those include Connecticut, Illinois, Kentucky, Minnesota, Nevada, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Washington.

Just last week, Governor Justice said the state’s mask mandate could end on West Virginia Day, which is June 20.

By then, Justice said, state health advisers project 65 percent of all West Virginians 12 years of age and older will have been vaccinated.

Justice said the state must make a sustained effort to vaccinate the population in the weeks ahead. “We’re going to call this our call to arms,” the governor said a week ago.

West Virginia’s coronavirus dashboard shows that 38 percent of the total population — a broader group than just those above age 12 now eligible for vaccination — has been vaccinated. That’s 691,758 people out of the state’s 1.79 million population.

And 46.2 percent — or 828,482, have been administered at least one dose.

Dr. Clay Marsh

“If you are fully vaccinated and you are two weeks out from the last dose, you are very well protected,” said Clay Marsh, West Virginia’s coronavirus response coordinator.

Justice first called for a mask mandate last July 6. West Virginia had just hit record numbers for newly-confirmed virus cases.

The change in federal guidance was surprising but is a good sign, Marsh said.

“The CDC is following all the data they receive. They believe this was the right time to make the decision,” Marsh said today on MetroNews’ “Talkline.”

“It is an interesting turn of events. It should give people the level of confidence that vaccines do really work. And we want to make sure people who are fully vaccinated have access to the parts of their life that they enjoy.”

.@ClayMarsh joins @HoppyKercheval to discuss the CDC saying vaccinated people do not have to wear masks inside or out. WATCH: https://t.co/yCFQ3nDJuy pic.twitter.com/TFRRRZ9K4O

— MetroNews (@WVMetroNews) May 14, 2021

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