Copley’s best, late rallies beat Concord

SHEPHERDSTOWN— Matt Copley came into the nightcap of the Shepherd vs. Concord doubleheader with an earned run average of 6.30. The Rams had outscored the Mountain Lions in a rough-and-tumble first game. But they trailed by a run when the freshman joined the fray.

Copley’s day began in the fifth inning when his right-fielder Michael Lott made a running catch just before crashing into the outfield fence. Concord did not score in the inning.

Shepherd infielder Nathan Minnich was named the WVIAC Player of the Week for the third time this season. Minnich has 14 home runs.

In its half of the fifth, Shepherd got a run to even the score when Lott’s single drove in Jake Cook.

Copley got through the sixth. When Brandon Coffey’s RBI single counted Chad Murphy, the Rams had a 4-3 lead — all they would need when Copley worked through his third scoreless inning in the Concord seventh.

Copley’s best-of-the-season showing helped the Rams take both ends of last Wednesday’s WVIAC doubleheader.

The one-run game was a polar opposite to the doubleheader’s wild opener where Shepherd survived, 19-12.

Rams’ starter Andrew Gallant and Concord right-hander Devin Smith waged a scoreless duel through three innings.

Concord broke through against Gallant in the fourth.

Trailing, 3-0, Shepherd answered with a two-run fifth of its own when Chad Murphy doubled in both Aaron Scoville and Nathan Minnich.

Gallant was lifted and freshman Copley was summoned from Shepherd’s skimpy bullpen. Copley’s eventual three innings

revealed his effort had given the Rams a chance to win. And win they did after Copley had yielded only one hit and one walk.

However, his one walk came in the seventh with one out. On a hit-and-run, Concord’s T. J. Brockway grounded out to shortstop Nash Hutter. But Randy Beard was at second base.

Beard represented the tying run. Copley was only one out away from helping the Rams get a vital sweep of a conference doubleheader. Jerrod Groves, who had been 5-for-5 in the opener, lifted a foul pop fly behind first base. When the foul pop was not caught, Groves had another chance to ruin Shepherd’s plans for a sweep.

Groves skied another pop fly. This one was in fair territory near first base. Shepherd second baseman Chad Murphy ranged over, took charge, and ended the game with his catch.

Shepherd had a one-run win. Copley’s ERA dipped to 4.85. And the Rams remained in the hunt for a berth in the conference’s postseason tournament that will be held at Point Stadium in Johnstown, Pa.

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