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Infrastructure grants to finance longstanding projects across the state

CLAY, W.Va. — More than $33 million in infrastructure grants are headed to some long talked about projects in West Virginia.

Gov. Jim Justice announced the grants from the West Virginia Water Development Authority last week that will cover 17 different projects.

Clay County will receive $1.4 million to finance the completion of the Clay County Courthouse Annex in Clay.

The facility has been sitting largely vacant since the 2016 flood. Clay County Commission President David Schoolcraft said it was under construction when the flood struck and it hasn’t been finished.

“It was in the process of being built, so that building other than just the corner where our 911 center sits, the rest of the building is stripped down to studs and has never been finished,” he said.

The new office space was destined to become the home of the Clay County magistrate offices and the sheriff’s department. Instead, for the past nearly seven years, Schoolcraft said they have been sitting in a state of limbo.

“They are currently located in the old courthouse which is a building that is completely and totally falling apart,” he explained. “The old courthouse is not ADA compliant, so if you need to go see the magistrate, it’s hard to get a wheelchair or anything in there.”

The county was already struggling to find funding to finish the annex when the flood wiped out what had already been done. Schoolcraft said the county’s funding source took a significant hit with the local coal mines closed down. The grant from the Water Development Authority will help finish the much needed project.

Westover will get $2 million

Westover Director of Public Works Jason Stinespring said the money will be used to reduce the amount financed for the reconstruction of 2,000 feet of Holland Avenue between the estimated cost of $3.8 million and the $1.9 million in American Rescue Plan funding committed to the project.

“That $2 million will help fill in that gap, so there’s a lot less money we have to borrow, so that’s definitely good news,” Stinespring said.

Before the road work can begin, there will be an extensive sewer project up Holland Avenue and the replacement of a lift station that connects the town to the Morgantown Utility Board (MUB) treatment facilities. Because the work is likely to begin next spring, city officials remain in talks with DOH to possibly overlay that section of road this year. The city would reimburse the DOH by doing the surface paving upon completion.

“The road is in very bad shape, and believe me, we drive on it as much as anybody. I’m up and down that road all day long,” Stinespring said. “It’s very encouraging, and we want to get this done and move on to the next project.”

The traffic maintenance plan for the project is still being developed. Holland Avenue is the major thoroughfare between Morgantown and Westover, and now that Mountaintop Beverage is in full operation with no direct access to I-79 traffic, this could be an even larger issue. Stinespring said officials are looking at ways to keep the main artery open during construction with ramps and temporary surfaces, but it appears most of the work will be done at night.

“I think the best option, if we can work it out with the state, is to work at night,” Stinespring said.

Full list of projects include:

Norton, Harding, Jimtown PSD — $1,100,000
This will allow the PSD to complete a part of its water project.

New Martinsville — $548,460
This will allow New Martinsville to complete a $2.7 million sewer project.

Ranson — $588,674
This will allow Ranson to complete a $2.7 million storm sewer project.

Harrisville — $785,000
This will allow Harrisville to upgrade its sewer system treatment plant and collection system.

Preston County PSD — $600,000
This will allow the county to complete upgrades to its sewer system.

Mason County PSD — $960,783
This will allow the county to complete its $25 million project to extend the sewer system to the Apple Grove area and provide sewer extension for Economic Development.

Clay — $1,855,895
This will allow the town to rehabilitate the sewer system.

Cowen PSD — $2,595,050
This will allow the PSD to construct a sewer collection system and also serve approximately 161 new customers. The total project cost is $9,995,050.

Clay County Courthouse Annex — $1,450,000
This will allow Clay County to update and complete the judicial annex after the 2016 flood damaged the courthouse.

Triadelphia — $1,225,000
This funding will allow them to complete $3 million in sewer system improvements.

Charles Town Utility Board — $1,620,000
This funding will allow them to complete an $8.1 million project to upgrade the sewer system collection system project.

Westover — $2,000,000
The funding will allow them to complete an $8.2 million project for the storm sewers, sewer lines, and lift station projects.

Chief Logan Rec Center — $4,500,000
The money will be used to upgrade the Chief Logan Recreation Center.

West Virginia University Research Corporation — $1,500,000
The funding will transform the former Fayette County Elementary School gymnasium into a 5,000 square feet office space as part of the Ascend WV program.

Doddridge County Dept. of Corrections — $1,683,000
The funds will upgrade the wastewater pretreatment plant at the North Central Regional Jail and Correctional Facility.

Mineral County Development Authority — $470,095
This will fund the installation of a fire pump station and upgrade the sprinkler system for a warehouse to support existing businesses.

Sistersville Healthcare Facility — $9,478,015
This $9.4 million grant and additional funding from the Memorial Health System will fund approximately $30 million for a new Sistersville General Hospital.

MetroNews reporter Chris Lawrence contributed to this story. 

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Hope Gas to acquire 900 miles of Equitrans Midstream Corporation gas lines

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Morgantown-based Hope Gas has been approved to acquire about 900 miles of gathering pipelines in northeastern West Virginia from the Equitrans Midstream Corporation.

Morgan O’Brien

President and CEO Morgan O’Brien said the wells supplying the system are at the end of their service life, and the 4,900 customers who depend on the system experience some problems during peak use periods. The wells are nearing the end of their service life, and they need more natural gas from their network to increase reliability.

“For the next few months we’re going to be working both with Equitrans and the local producers to bring more gas onto the system so next winter these folks can be warm and safe and depend on their natural gas service,” O’Brien said.

Hope Gas has plans to acquire Peoples Natural Gas and the Southern Public Service Company later this year. The Peoples Natural Gas Transaction is valued at about $37 million, and the utility serves about 125,000 customers. Southern Public Service Company is a smaller gas utility based in Milton, West Virginia.

“We’ve estimated that on an annual basis, it could be as many as 400 skilled labor jobs that will be put to work each year replicating old pipe and expanding our footprint,” O’Brien said.

In Morgantown, Hope Gas, established in September of 2022, currently employs 100 at their 35,000-square-foot facility at the WVU Innovation Corporation on Chestnut Ridge Road and has plans for growth. O’Brien said soon they’ll open a call center and gas control operations in the Morgantown area that will employ another 100 residents.

“Within the first 12 months, Hope Gas will have created 200 good, family-sustaining jobs here in West Virginia,” O’Brien said. “In addition to the pipe replacement, we’re using contractors to help us with it.”

Similar to the acquisition of Equitrans Midstream Corporation, Hope Gas will begin an upgrade and maintenance program on the distribution system. O’Brien says as these new acquisitions are stabilized, they plan to make gas available to expand into new areas in order to encourage more natural gas customers and drilling.

“We want to work with those producers to see if there’s an ability to put more gas on those systems to support their businesses,” O’Brien said. “Because at the end of the day, the most reliable and most affordable natural gas is gas that’s drilled here in West Virginia.”

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Friends say trooper who died in Mingo County ‘touched lives every day’

MATEWAN, W.Va. — Hearts have been heavy this weekend in Mingo County and across West Virginia following the shooting death of State Police Sgt. Cory Maynard.

Justin Marcum

It’s been especially difficult for those who knew Maynard personally.

“Cory was a great officer, a great friend and a great person,” Williamson attorney Justin Marcum told MetroNews.

Marcum knew Maynard and said he saw him jogging in downtown Williamson just hours before he was shot and killed Friday.

“He gave me a fist bump. He goes to work. I go to work and then this stuff happens,” Marcum said fighting back tears. “It’s just heartbreaking.”

Maynard was shot after responding to a shooting call in the Beech Creek area of Matewan Friday afternoon. He was taken to Logan Regional Medical Center where he later died. His body was then taken to the state Medical Examiner’s Office for an autopsy.

State Police searched for the gunman for about seven hours after Maynard was shot and eventually arrested Timothy Kennedy, 29, of Matewan, that evening. Kennedy was arraigned on a felony charge of first degree murder Saturday morning.

State Police released more information Saturday afternoon about the shots fired call. Troopers said Kennedy shot the victim, Benjamin Baldwin, 39, of Matewan, with a rifle Friday. Baldwin was transported to CAMC General for treatment. He is in serious but stable condition. The motive for the shooting is still unknown.

Marcum said he and Maynard grew up together. Maynard lived close to Williamson in neighboring Belfry, Kentucky.

Sgt. Cory Maynard

“He would come to our church sometimes with family. We played sports together. Even though we went to different high schools, we grew up and knew each other most of our lives. When he got moved back here to Mingo County as a trooper, I’ve seen him every morning,” Marcum said.

Maynard was recognized by State Police in 2015 for saving a man’s life in the Eastern Panhandle. Marcum said it was in Maynard’s nature to do that.

“He might not have saved a person’s life every day, but he touched people’s lives every day whether it was a smile or a fist bump,” he said. “If we’re at the grocery store and I got my 8 year old son with me, he’d grab him in a headlock and tickle him on the head and just make him smile. He was that guy who just made people smile.”

Marcum said law enforcement officers have a tough job. He said Maynard risked his life every day and still had a positive attitude toward everyone he came across. Marcum said Maynard set a good example for children, too.

“Being in law enforcement and kids seeing such a great person who would carry themselves in such an awesome manner. He was very professional and would make people smile,” Marcum said.

Timothy Kennedy

Maynard, who was in his upper 30s, leaves behind a wife and two children and many family members and friends, Marcum said.

Maynard is the third law enforcement officer in West Virginia to be fatally shot in the line of duty in the last two and a half years. Nicholas County sheriff’s deputy Tom Baker died in a shootout in the Birch River area in June 2022. Charleston Police Officer Cassie Johnson was shot and killed while responding to a traffic complaint in Dec. 2020.

Marcum, a former state lawmaker, said he’d like to see harsher penalties for those who kill a police officer. He said he attempted to push a bill through the Legislature after the 2013 death of Mingo County Sheriff Eugene Crum.

“After Sheriff Crum got killed here in Mingo County, we introduced a bill to make the killing of a law enforcement officer life in prison without parole. I would love to see that bill resurrected. I think the criminal penalties have to go up for this,” he said.

The manhunt for Kennedy delayed graduation ceremonies at Mingo Central High School Friday night. Residents were urged to stay indoors until the Kennedy was captured.

Kennedy remains in the Southwestern Regional Jail without bond.

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Police salute fallen trooper as he continues to give after death

CLARKSBURG, W.Va. — Police saluted the body of West Virginia State Police Sgt. Cory Maynard Saturday as it was taken to an organ donation facility.

A line of State Police cruisers head north on I-79 Saturday with the body of fallen trooper Sgt. Cory Maynard. (Photo/Ben Queen)

Police officers were lined up along Interstate 79 in Clarksburg as a procession of cruisers and an ambulance carrying Maynard’s body passed by.

State Police confirmed Saturday that Maynard was an organ donor.

“Even in his death, Sergeant Maynard continues to save lives though his selfless sacrifice,” the statement said.

Sgt. Cory Maynard

Maynard, 37, was shot and killed in the line of duty Friday afternoon near Matewan. Another man, identified Saturday as Benjamin Baldwin, 39, of Matewan, was shot before troopers arrived. He’s in serious but stable condition at a Charleston hospital.

State police have charged Timothy Kennedy, 29, also of Matewan, with both shootings. He was arraigned on charges Saturday including first degree murder. He’s in the Southwestern Regional Jail without bail.

“The motive for the shooting is unknown, and the investigation remains active and ongoing,” a state police statement said Saturday.

Maynard, a native of Belfry, Kentucky, had been a trooper for 15 years. He leaves behind his wife and two children ages 13 and 9.

A memorial service is being planned for midweek.

Maynard is the first WVSP trooper killed in the line of duty since Trooper Eric Workman and Corporal Marshall Bailey were shot and killed near an Interstate 79 exit in Roane County in August 2012.

Saturday was the one year anniversary of the shooting death of Nicholas County Deputy Tom Baker.

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Kuhl, calm and collective: Winfield senior throws gem, lifts Generals to 3-0 win over Keyser in Class AA final

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Throughout the 2023 season, Winfield baseball coach Will Isaacs relied heavily on senior Dylan Kuhl for production and leadership.

So when Kuhl got off to a rocky start in Saturday’s Class AA title game against Keyser, there was no panic from the top seed Generals, nor their skipper.

Instead, they reverted to Kuhl living up to his last name, and after escaping a jam in the first inning, he found a way to wiggle out of trouble in the second despite the Golden Tornado loading the bases with no outs.

It proved pivotal and the Generals produced two third-inning runs to play from in front the rest of the way, securing their fourth state championship and first since 2002 with a 3-0 victory at GoMart Ballpark.

“He’s unquestionably our leader,” Isaacs said. “He sets the tone for toughness and he’s vocal in everything that he does. He was the guy we wanted on the mound today.”

Noah Broadwater led off with a single for KHS (21-7), and was at third following a Caden Youngblood one-out single. After Youngblood stole Keyser’s second base that inning, Kuhl induced a pop out off the bat of Logan Rotruck before he caught Patrick Liller looking for his first of seven strikeouts.

The Golden Tornado had an even bigger threat in the second when Josh Shoemaker led off with a double, Chase Davis followed with a walk and Hunter Hart singled to pack the bags.

But Kuhl never wavered as he struck out Bubba Bean for the first out. Broadwater then sent a fly ball relatively deep to center, but a base running blunder prevented Keyser from producing a sacrifice fly. 

Healy struck out for the final out of the inning. That marked the third of 12 straight batters Kuhl would retire. 

“Coach always tells us we’re going to face adversity sometime during a baseball game and I faced it early,” Kuhl said. “I had to throw strikes and let my teammates make the plays for me if they put the ball in play.

“The first two innings, my curve ball was struggling, but in the third inning, it came around and was the best it’s ever been. It worked the rest of the game.”

WHS moved in front in the home half of the third. Karson Frye’s one-out triple was followed by a Quincy Miller sacrifice bunt, and Miller brought in Frye and ended up reaching as the Golden Tornado unsuccessfully tried for the out at the plate.

Preston Keiffer’s two-out run-scoring single allowed Winfield (30-9) to double its lead.

Bumgarner belted a two-out triple to right-center in the fourth that allowed Maddox Shafer to score the Generals’ third run.

“When we had opportunities, we didn’t capitalize and when they did, they capitalized,” Keyser head coach Scott Rohrbaugh said. “It was a good game. We left guys on base and couldn’t get the hits when we needed them today.”

Still, thanks to Broadwater’s strong pitching performance, Keyser was within striking distance throughout.

Youngblood led off the sixth with a triple, but KHS was again unable to capitalize. Instead, Kuhl got Rotruck on a ground ball back to the mound before Liller lined out to first base. After Shoemaker worked a walk, Davis hit a liner too short for the final out.

“My fastball and change up are what got me here. I’m not the guy who throws the hardest, but I love generating weak contact,” Kuhl said. “When my curve ball started to come around, I knew we were going to win this ballgame.”

Winfield left the bases loaded in the sixth, but it was inconsequential as Kuhl retired all three batters he faced in the seventh to seal the outcome.

Kuhl scattered five hits and walked a pair in his memorable outing.

“Dylan was able to locate three pitches and that’s what made him effective,” Isaacs said. “When he got in those jams, he wasn’t and the ball was out over the plate and they were drilling the ball. But once he was able to get all three pitches in or near the strike zone, it put them in swing mode and we had a real advantage then.”

Shafer and Bumgarner had two hits apiece.

“We knew it was going to be extremely difficult to win this game and we’re blessed and fortunate,” Isaacs said.

Broadwater struck out eight, walked one and limited the Generals to the three runs, two of which were earned, over six innings of seven-hit ball.

Youngblood had two of the five KHS hits.

“He mixed it up and kept us off balance,” Rohrabugh said of Kuhl. “We’d either hit a weak fly ball or pop up and his off speed was working well today.”

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Carper released from hospital

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Kanawha County Commission President Kent Carper was released from a hospital Saturday after undergoing open heart surgery two weeks ago.

Kent Carper

A statement released by the family said he would continue his recovery at home.

“The family appreciates the care he received from the doctors and staff at CAMC, as well as the care he received from the doctors and staff of WVU Medicine Thomas Memorial Hospital before he was transferred to CAMC. The family also thanks the community for the expressions of support he has received.”

Carper’s activities will be restricted for several weeks. A family spokesman said earlier this week that Carper suffered a stroke and a heart attack in the days leading up to his surgery.

Meanwhile, a Kanawha circuit judge has okayed a special prosecutor be appointed if one is needed as police continue to investigate a complaint made against Carper. A woman reported lewd activity at Daniel Boone Park.

Carper’s family has said he was sick and what happened was an “awful misunderstanding.”

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Mingo County man charged with murder of State Police trooper

WILLIAMSON, W.Va. — A Mingo County man has been arraigned in connection with the fatal shooting of State Police Sgt. Cory Maynard.

Sgt. Cory Maynard

Timothy Kennedy, 29, of Matewan. was arraigned on a first degree murder charge during a video hearing Saturday morning at the Mingo County Courthouse in Williamson.

State police said in a Saturday afternoon statement that Kennedy shot Benjamin Baldwin, 39, of Matewan, with a rifle before troopers arrived. Baldwin is being treated in a Charleston hospital.

Troopers said they are still investigating a motive.

Kennedy is being held without bond at the Southwestern Regional Jail.

Troopers said Maynard was fatally wounded after responding to the initial call on Beech Creek Road. He was taken to Logan Regional Medical Center where he died. Gov. Jim Justice confirmed Maynard’s death around 7 p.m. Friday.

State police took Kennedy into custody after a seven hour manhunt. He was arrested around 10 p.m. Friday.

Graduation ceremonies at Mingo Central High School on Friday night were postponed to Saturday morning due to the manhunt. Residents were urged to stay indoors until Kennedy was captured.

The body was taken to the state Medical Examiner’s Office Friday night. It was transported to an organ donation facility Saturday.

Maynard’s death marks the third fatal police officer shooting in West Virginia in the last two and a half years. It was on this day one year ago that Nicholas County Deputy Tom Baker was shot and killed in the Birch River area on June 3, 2022. Charleston Police Officer Cassie Johnson died after being shot while responding to a parking complaint in Dec. 2020.

Reaction about Maynard’s death continued to pour in from across state lines Saturday. Maynard, who grew up close to Williamson in neighboring Belfry, Kentucky, caught the attention of Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear.

Beshear wrote on Twitter he was “heartbroken”, and that Maynard was “a hero who sacrificed everything to make our communities safer.”

Maynard was honored by State Police for the Life Saving Award in 2015. He saved a man’s life who was involved in a pursuit in the Eastern Panhandle.

State Senate President Craig Blair recognized Maynard’s actions in a statement released Saturday:

“As a young officer with our State Police in the Eastern Panhandle, Sgt. Maynard was recognized with a Lifesaving Award for his actions in the line of duty. He continued to exemplify the qualities of compassion, bravery, and service throughout his career. His ultimate sacrifice in his service to his community and to our citizens will not be forgotten,” Blair wrote.

The statement went on to say, “The Senate joins with Governor Justice and our fellow West Virginians across the state in praying for Sgt. Maynard’s family, friends, and fellow law enforcement officers. We pray for the safety and protection of all of West Virginia’s first responders, and thank each of you for your service to your communities and the State of West Virginia.”

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West Virginia receives Major lift to avoid elimination with 13-5 win against Ball State

Thanks to a major lift from Aidan Major, West Virginia’s baseball team put an end to a six-game losing streak and extended its season at least one more game.

Major took over Saturday’s elimination game against Ball State before the bottom of the fourth inning and pitched five scoreless innings, striking out eight and surrendering one hit over a dominant effort that sparked the Mountaineers’ 13-5 win as part of the Lexington Regional at Kentucky Proud Park.

The victory allows the Mountaineers (40-19) to play at least one more elimination game at noon Sunday against host Kentucky, which lost to Indiana later Saturday, 5-3. If the Mountaineers eliminate UK, they will play again at 6 p.m. Sunday against the Hoosiers.

With the win, WVU also reached 40 wins for the second time and tied the program record for single season victories.

Just before Major took over for Ben Hampton, the Mountaineers turned a two-run deficit into a 7-5 lead. That inning featured a solo home run from Dayne Leonard, JJ Wetherholt’s run-scoring groundout and a two-run long ball from Logan Sauve.

WVU added to its advantage in the seventh when Grant Hussey hit the Mountaineers’ third and final home run of the matchup.

In the ninth, the Mountaineers managed to score five insurance runs, getting two-run singles from Leonard and Tevin Tucker and a run-scoring single from Sauve.

Major had pitched five-plus innings only twice this season before Saturday. He struck out the side in the fifth and retired his first eight batters and 15 of the 16 he faced, before giving way to Noah Short, who pitched a perfect ninth.

Wetherholt’s three-run home run in the third inning gave WVU a 3-1 lead at the time, but Hampton ran into trouble in the bottom of that inning. 

After Hampton retired the first two batters off the frame, Adam Tellier connected for a double — the first of six straight Cardinals’ hits.

Tellier scored on Hunter Dobbins’ single, and Blake Bevis’ run-scoring single tied it at 3.

CJ Horn and Nick Gregory later added RBI singles in the third.

But Ball State (36-23) starting pitcher Ty Johnson nor relievers Ty Weatherly and Jxxx Hartlaub found much success on the mound.

Johnson took the loss after surrendering seven runs, including six earned, in four innings. Weatherly went 4 1/3 innings and allowed four runs on three hits with four walks and six strikeouts.

Hartlaub was charged with two runs on three hits and recorded one out.

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Cabell Midland utilizes small ball to get by Hedgesville 11-8 for Class AAA championship

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Cabell Midland baseball coach Tracy Brumfield likes to think of this year’s version of the Knights as selfless.

Never was that more evident than Saturday in the Class AAA title game against Hedgesville at GoMart Ballpark.

No. 1 Cabell Midland took control of the contest with a nine-run fourth inning, a frame in which three consecutive bunt singles played a major role in turning the tide in the Knights’ favor as they gained the lead and held off a furious rally from the Eagles for an 11-8 victory.

“We told the kids you have to be able to get the bunts down in big situations. You have to be able to buy into it and get it down,” Brumfield said. “The way kids are today, they don’t want to bunt. They want to swing. But our kids in the lower part of the lineup put down great bunts. We had the squeeze on and it was great execution.”

The result allows Cabell Midland (30-10) to claim its second baseball championship on the 20-year anniversary of its initial title.

“It’s never easy, but it’s been a long time. This one’s ours,” Brumfield said.

Facing their first deficit at 3-2 they came to bat in the fourth, the Knights pulled even on a run-scoring single from Jack Eastone that marked the end of the outing for Hedgesville (28-9) starting pitcher Tanner Matthew.

He was replaced by Jaxson Ruest, who was immediately greeted by a bunt from No. 7 hitter Ben Fulks that led to a single and a throwing error that allowed Isaac Petitt to score.

Fulks was originally ruled out on the play, but after the umpires got together, they ruled Fulks was not tagged and he was awarded first base.

“I don’t really understand some of the semantics of what we were told there, but it comes down to did we hit well enough, pitch well enough and play good enough defense. We didn’t do it,” HHS head coach Eric Grove said. “This is one game in a season where we’ve had tremendous success.” 

Bryce Alfrey followed with a bunt single that scored Eastone, and Hunter McSweeney made it three straight bunt singles to create a bases loaded situation for Landon Nida, who drew a base-on-balls that left Midland with a 6-3 lead.

“I was really just trying to put it down the third base line, because I saw the third baseman playing back,” McSweeney said. “I was trying to get the runners over and trying to get on.”

Later in the inning, Kenyon Collins drove in two with a single and Luke Samuel did likewise with a double, before Eastone added his second run-scoring single of the frame that left the Eagles trailing by eight.

“You get booed because for [bunting], but guess what? It doesn’t matter,” Brumfield said. “We won and bunting was a big part of that.“

However, with everything going against them, the No. 3 Eagles answered back in the fifth to make things interesting.

Aden McCormill replaced Eastone on the mound to start that inning, and Brett Pederson lined into a double play to create an early two out situation with nobody on.

But Landon Pence followed with a double, and after an error extended the inning, Chris French worked a walk to load the bases. Trenton Knieriem followed with his own walk to bring in a run, and after Gage Ganoe was hit by a pitch with the bags packed, the Eagles were to within 11-5 and Jared Nethercutt replaced McCormill.

It did little to slow Hedgesville’s momentum as Braylon Conner worked a walk to bring in the Eagles’ sixth run, and Noah Brown followed with a two-run single for a three-run deficit.

Nethercutt induced a ground ball to second off the bat of Ruest with two in scoring position that enabled Midland to keep its three-run lead.

“It’s hard when you get to this point, you’re staying so far away from home and the kids are tired from the weather and you wonder are we going to have a response,” Grove said. “I couldn’t be more proud of the fact we scored five runs and gave ourselves a chance. If this is the worst thing that happens in their life, then they’re going to have a good life.”

McSweeney took over on the mound to start the sixth and the Eagles managed only Quinn’s two-out single that inning over the last two frames. McSweeney struck out the first two batters of the seventh and got Conner to hit a fly ball to center for the game’s final out.

“The adrenaline was pumping, but it wasn’t very stressful,” McSweeney said. “I felt normal and it just felt like a normal game.”

Midland went in front 2-0 in the second after Eastone’s RBI double and a Fulks run-scoring single, though the Eagles scored two runs on consecutive Knights’ errors in the top of the third to draw even at 2.

Conner’s fourth-inning single scored Ganoe and allowed Hedgesville to lead for the first and only time.

Eastone picked up the win after allowing three unearned runs in four innings. McSweeney struck out a pair over two scoreless innings to record the save.

Eastone and Samuel had three hits apiece to combine for half of Midland’s 12 hits.

“We wanted to put the ball on the ground, run the bases and put pressure on them,” Brumfield said.

Brown and Ganoe led Hedgesville’s eight-hit attack with two each.

Matthew suffered the loss after allowing five runs in three innings. Ruest was charged with six runs in three innings.

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Mountain Line Transit Authority passes on electric, opts to test three liquid propane buses
Dave Bruffy

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The Mountain Line Transit Authority will test three liquid propane buses this year at a cost of about $500,000, according to CEO Dave Bruffy.

Bruffy decided on liquid propane after a site visit to Missoula, Montana, and a survey of their electric bus program.

Bruffy said cost was one of the first issues. Since the pandemic, the cost of all goods has skyrocketed, but the cost of the new technology in electric vehicles and operational limitations make an electric bus a bad choice for this area.

“The cost is about 3 to 1, so for every diesel-engine bus you can buy, you’re going to have to spend three times as much because you need two electric buses; they don’t have the range without being charged,” Bruffy said.

In Missoula, officials had a goal of going all electric by 2025, and by 2021, 40 percent of the fleet was electric. Bruffy said in Montana, buses were outfitted with diesel-fueled heaters because the batteries could not handle the load. Bruffy also had concerns about the life of the electric bus as compared to its diesel counterpart.

“The batteries lose effectiveness in the colder weather,” Bruffy said. “They have a half-life of about six years, and the buses we buy are required to be kept for at least 12 years, so we have a major expense in the future.”

Electric vehicle technology is still very much in development, and many new concerns are identified as the buses gain more road miles. Many mechanical issues are solved by the experiences of others, but many electric bus operators find themselves the first to experience or solve an issue.

“Poor tires wear because they’re so much heavier,” Bruffy said. “There is no extensive maintenance history, so there is no transit system you can call and ask about a problem because they have not experienced it yet.”

Building infrastructure is another major issue for Bruffy and the Mountain Line Transit Authority garage in Westover. First, the electrical infrastructure would require a major upgrade to support charging operations. Next, rates for electricity are negotiated with power companies based on peak, off-peak, and total use projections.

“We have a water sprinkler, and we have a sprinkler system in our garage, and a water sprinkled system will not put out an electric bus fire,” Bruffy said. “There have been a couple facilities that have been lost because of an electric bus fire.”

The door is not completely closed on electric buses in the Morgantown area. But, until some power, cost, and comfort issues are addressed with electric vehicles, the Mountain Line Transit Authority will proceed with a test of the three liquid propane buses this year.

“The technology has gotten better, but it’s still not to the point that you can run those vehicles on our terrain and run the heater on them—that’s another issue,” Bruffy said.

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Source: WV MetroNews