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Shady Spring withstands late Bluefield rally to win regional title

BLUEFIELD, W.Va. — A two-run sixth inning gave Shady Spring a lead and a two-run seventh inning provided necessary insurance as the Tigers held off Bluefield, 6-5 in the decisive game of the Class AA Region III series Saturday at Bowen Field. With the win, No. 5 Shady Spring (26-9) qualified for the state tournament for the second time in four years.

“I had confidence in my team at [Independence]. I knew we could do it. And then here against Bluefield, I knew we could do it. My team has a lot of senior leaders, but it is a great bond. It is family,” said Shady Spring head coach Jordan Meadows.

The Tigers erased a 3-2 deficit in the sixth inning when Evan Belcher singled through a drawn-in infield with the bases loaded. Josh Lovell and Alex Johnston scored to give Shady a lead they would not relinquish.

“The first two at bats, [Belcher] hit pop flies to centerfield. I told him, ‘You are getting underneath it. Just stay on top’. It was a great six-hole hit to score two runs and give us the lead. Then in the last inning, we got a little bit more cushion.”

The Tigers extended their lead to 6-3 in the seventh on a run-scoring fly out from Lovell and an RBI single from Aden Seabolt.

Bluefield answered with a run-scoring single from Hunter Harmon and a sacrifice fly by Ryan Harris. With the tying run on second for Bluefield, Shady pitcher David Young induced a fly out to end the game. Young went the distance for the Tigers, allowing just six hits.

“David is always going to throw strikes no matter what. He might not throw the hardest but the kid is a stud and he is a senior. We call him ‘Iceman’.”

Lovell and Jacob Meadows had multi-hit games for the Tigers. Kerry Collins drove in three runs for No. 9 Bluefield (20-8). Bryson Redmond scored three times.

Shady Spring is the No. 4 seed in the Class AA state tournament. They will face defending state champion and No. 1 seed Logan (26-9) in the tournament opener Thursday at 4:30 p.m. at Appalachian Power Park in Charleston.

“I like my odds with Cam Manns on the mound against anybody. The dude is a stud and he has one loss on the year.”

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Man takes own life after traffic stop

HURRICANE, W.Va. — A Florida man took his own life Saturday shortly after a traffic stop.

Putnam County Sheriff Bobby Eggleton told WCHS-TV deputies made the stop on I-64 near Hurricane at around noon for a traffic violation. A deputy then noticed some drug items in the car and asked the driver and a female passenger to get out of the vehicle. Eggleton says the woman got out but the driver took off.

Deputies later found the car had crashed and the driver had shot himself. Lifesaving attempts were unsuccessful.

Eggleton says the couple was from Florida. The driver was discharged from the military.

The female passenger will not be charged.

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Ohio man arrested after I-64 pursuit

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — An Ohio man’s car ran out of gas Saturday night as he was trying to get away from police in Charleston.

Robert Allen

Kanawha County sheriff’s deputies were able to arrest Robert Allen, 40, of Dayton, Ohio, following a brief struggle.

Putnam County police first tried to to stop Allen for speeding but they say he instead started driving faster  and continued east on I-64 weaving in and out of traffic reaching speeds of 120 miles an hour. Kanawha deputies joined the chase near Cross Lanes. Allen ran out of gas on I-77 near Daniel Boone Park.

Allen is charged with fleeing with reckless indifference.

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WVSSAC Class AA State Baseball Tournament schedule

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The WVSSAC State Baseball Tournament will be played at Appalachian Power Park in Charleston. The Class AA semifinals are set for Thursday, June 2. The championship game will be played Saturday, June 4.

Thursday, June 2

Semifinal #1 – No. 1 Logan (26-8) vs. No. 4 Shady Spring (26-9) – 4:30 p.m.

Semifinal #2 – No. 2 Robert C. Byrd (26-9) vs. No. 3 Fairmont Senior (21-9) – 50 minutes after Game 1

Saturday, June 4

Championship – 10 a.m.

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Offensive lineman Tim Lawson among two additions to Marshall’s football team

— By Bill Cornwell

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — When spring football practices ended a month ago for Marshall, second-year head coach Charles Huff made it a point to say the Thundering Herd weren’t done adding to the roster.

Huff’s claim proved true on Thursday as Marshall added two players from the NCAA Transfer Portal.

The biggest addition for Marshall appears to be former Louisville offensive lineman Tim Lawson. At 6-6 and 305 pounds, Lawson brings size and adds depth to the MU offensive line.

Lawson is the second offensive lineman to transfer to Marshall from a Power 5 school this spring, with the other being Cedrice Paillant, who committed to Marshall in mid April after leaving Rutgers.

Lawson, who hails from Fort Washington, Maryland, never appeared in a game for the Cardinals. He was a part of Louisville’s 2020 recruiting class and picked U of L over West Virginia, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Rutgers, Kentucky, Maryland, Kent State, Massachusetts, Toledo and Virginia.

Lawson told the Herald-Dispatch he was attracted to Marshall because of the program’s family atmosphere and the care for players shown by the coaching staff. He was also encouraged by Marshall’s ability to place linemen on NFL rosters.

The Thundering Herd’s second addition was ex-Alabama A&M safety DeMarco Gibson, who saw action in seven games last season.

Gibson was in on 13 tackles and had one interception.

Gibson is the third safety from an FCS school to transfer to Marshall, joining Isaiah Norman from Austin Peay and Andre Sam from McNeese State.

Early Game Times Announced

The Sun Belt Conference has announced early season starting game times. Marshall’s home opener on September 3 against Norfolk State will kick off at 3:30 p.m. at Joan C. Edwards Stadium and will be shown on ESPN 3.

The Herd’s September 10 game at Notre Dame is a 2:30 p.m. kickoff and will be shown on NBC.

Marshall’s September 17th game at Bowling Green will begin at 5 p.m.

The Herd’s home game on Wednesday, October 12 against Louisiana will start at 7:30 p.m. and be shown on ESPN2.

Sun Belt Spring Meetings

Sun Belt Athletic Directors and coaches recently held the league’s spring meeting in Miramar Beach, Florida and new member Marshall was represented as well as other new league members Old Dominion, Southern Miss and James Madison.

The Athletic Directors reaffirmed their commitment to divisional scheduling in football and that the Sun Belt football championship game will feature the West Division Champion versus the East Division Champion.

There was also approval of a recommendation from the volleyball coaches to allow all 14 teams to participate in the women’s volleyball championship conducted in November in Foley, Alabama.

The ADs approved instant replay for both baseball and softball. They also increased the conference required number of broadcasts for baseball and softball.

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Queen prepares for senate seat, eyes property tax amendment

CLARKSBURG, W.Va. – Three-term House of Delegates member Ben Queen is currently running unopposed for a seat in the state Senate.

The senate district covers parts of Harrison, Lewis, Gilmer, Braxton and Clay counties.

Delegate Ben Queen, R-Harrison

The seat is currently held by Democrat Mike Romano who announced he would not seek reelection, but would run for the Harrison County Commission.

Queen, R-Harrison, said in absence of a challenger in the fall he’s spending time gaining a better understanding of the senate.

“Tried really hard the last six months to get to know the new senators and the Republican caucus over there,” Queen said. “I’ve spent several long days with the Senate president–just grasp what the senate’s direction is.”

Queen said the next legislature is going to be working with a healthy state budget. It could end the fiscal year on June 30 with a revenue collection surplus in excess of $1 million.

“I believe this state is headed in the right direction because we’ve passed flat budgets the last four or five years,” Queen said. “My first year we had a $500 million hole and we haven’t grown our state budget nearly to the percentage that other states are doing.”

Queen it’s time to come up with a plan to return some of that money to taxpayers.

“It’s a rewarding factor, but now we have over $1 billion of rainy day in the bank and we need to make a plan going forward to start giving this money back.”

A question on the November ballot, the Property Tax Modernization Amendment, if approved by voters, could exempt personal property used for business activity and personal motor vehicles from being taxed. In 2018, reports indicate that tax produced total revenue of $523.9 million- more than 65 percent went to fund public schools and about 27 percent was allocated to county governments.

“I think there needs to be a very unique equation of how to make counties whole and how to reward counties that continue to grow,” Queen said. “I think that’s a massive issue and I think it’s got to take a creative formula because you don’t want to blow holes in county budgets.”

Queen could still have some opposition in the fall election, minor political parties such as the Mountain, Green and Libertarian parties, have until Aug. 1 to file candidacy paperwork with the Secretary of State.

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Marshall returns to indoor mask mandate after community spread listed in high category by CDC

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Masks are once again mandatory in campus buildings on the Marshall University campus in Huntington.

According to Marshall’s COVID-19 dashboard, the campus is returning to an indoor mask requirement because this week’s infection risk level from the Centers for Disease Control is high for Cabell County.

The dashboard message says, “Masks are required inside Marshall buildings on the Huntington campus.”

Masks remain optional in buildings on Marshall’s campus in South Charleston. The community level for the spread of COVID-19 in Kanawha County is currently considered medium.

Marshall announced on March 24 that effective immediately it would adapt its indoor masking guidelines to fit the CDC’s color-coded system “based on the level of community spread any given week.”

Marshall hasn’t required masks in buildings in Huntington since March.

The spring semester ended a few weeks ago at Marshall. The school’s dashboard reports one new student case of COVID-19 since May 14 and four cases since then among staff members.

Marshall says 82% of its students have been vaccinated and more than 87% of its employees.

West Virginia headed into the holiday weekend with nearly 2,400 active cases of COVID-19, according to the Friday release of the state Department of Health and Human Resources COVID-19 dashboard.

Overall cases were up slightly to 2,377. The DHHR confirmed 648 new cases and three additional deaths.

The deaths included a 69-year old female from Putnam County, a 62-year old male from Mason County, and an 84-year old male from Ohio County.

Cabell County was ‘green’ on the state COVID-19 daily alert map Friday.

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Pepperoni Roll Eating World Championship taking place Saturday night

FAIRMONT, W.Va. — The ninth annual Three Rivers Festival Pepperoni Roll Eating World Championship will take place Saturday at Fairmont’s Palatine Park.

Contestants will have 10 minutes to eat as many pepperoni rolls as possible for the chance to win $5,000 in prizes.

Competitive eater Joey Chestnut set the festival record in 2019 when he ate 43 pepperoni rolls. He is not taking part in this year’s competition.

According to spokesman Sam Barclay, 46-year-old Geoffrey Esper of Oxford, Massachusetts, is representing Major League Eating at the event. Esper was the Hooters wing eating champion in 2017 and 2018.

“He’s got all the physical tools and the mental tools to dominate the competition,” Barclay said. “He’s the former pepperoni roll eating champion of the world.”

Barclay continued, “Eighty-three slices of pizza in ten minutes, 281 Hooters chicken wings in ten minutes, over nine pounds of spam in eight minutes. He’s a power eater, he’s a capacity eater, and [Esper] enters Saturday’s competition as a firm favorite.”

The eating competition will begin at 8 p.m.

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Colorado woman continues search for lost service dog

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — A Colorado woman is still searching for her service dog that she lost near Morgantown earlier this month.

The dog, named Heidi, is trained to help Bridget Spangler detect seizures and get her help if she becomes incapacitated.

Spangler said she was riding with her fiance on Route 43 in Pennsylvania near the Monongalia County line on May 21 when he suffered a medical emergency and crashed the vehicle. Heidi panicked and jumped out of the back window and ran toward the Pennsylvania line.

“Heidi looks like a small German Shepherd. She’s brown and black, she has a standard black saddle bag on her and she has white underneath,” Spangler said during a Friday appearance on WAJR’s ‘Talk of the Town.’ “At the time she got loose she was wearing a purple collar with white stitching and it has a Laramie County, Colorado rabies tag attached.”

Spangler said there were several sightings of Heidi on a Route 43 overpass the same day she went missing but the last sighting was last Tuesday, May 24.

Spangler said the sightings have been in a general area.

“The West Virginia-Pennsylvania border and going down into the vicinity of Seghi’s Five Lakes,” Spangler said. “That seems to be the circle where anybody has seen and reported her.”

Due to weather conditions, Spangler said the dog is likely seeking shelter. Heidi can be timid around strangers, but Spangler said the dog is not aggressive or mean.

“In the rain she’s bedding down, she doesn’t like the rain,” Spangler said. “So, people need to look in their barns, in garages and under porches she’s got to be there somewhere.”

Spangler asks anyone that finds a dog they think might be Heidi to take steps to verify who the owner of the dog is.

“Heidi is microchipped,” Spangler said. “If anybody sees a German Shepherd or a German Shepherd mix dog please go get it scanned.”

Spangler is staying in Morgantown at the Motel 6 while the search continues.

A GoFundMe account has been created to help Spangler defray costs.

If you have information or see the dog please contact Bridget Spangler at 719-640-2651 or [email protected] or Margaret at 724-562-5807.

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Morgantown man arrested on sex-related charges following months long investigation

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Troopers have arrested a Morgantown man on various sex-related charges following an eight-month long investigation.

James Daniel Stieringer

State police tell MetroNews James Daniel Stieringer, 41, was taken into custody Friday at Ruby Memorial Hospital.

Troopers allege he sexually assaulted and abused a stepchild and a niece over a several year period.

Stieringer is charged with 2nd Degree Sexual Assault, First Degree Sexual Abuse and two counts of sexual abuse by a parent or guardian.

Troopers said Stieringer fled to Pennsylvania to avoid arrest. U.S. Marshals found him in Carmichaels, Pa. earlier this week. He injured himself in a suicide attempt. He was treated at Ruby and released into the custody of troopers Friday.

Stieringer is lodged in the North Central Regional Jail. A preliminary hearing will now be scheduled.

Troopers from the state police’s Morgantown detachment have been investigating the case.

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