CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Minor league baseball returned to Charleston for the 2016 season on Thursday with all the familiar sights and sounds.
Rod “Toastman” Blackstone was leading the crowd in chants and tossing charred pieces of toast to fans. “Wheeler” Bob Friedman, a ballpark staple here since 1973, was back in the stands selling memorabilia, and in what has become familiar to those following the team so far this season, the West Virginia Power pitching dominated in a win.
The Power beat the visiting Lexington Legends 5-0 on the strength of a standout performance by starting pitcher Bret Helton and relief help from Eric Karch, Julio Esubio and Seth McGarry as they combined to hold Lexington to just four hits and continue the club’s streak of not allowing more than two runs in any game so far this season.
Helton, a Colorado native and son of former San Francisco 49er Barry Helton, allowed one hit — to the first batter he faced — in five innings to get his first win of the season. Entering Thursday’s game, the Power (6-2) led all of minor league baseball with a 1.13 team ERA…