Marietta High has the arms in Evan Sawyer, Ben Barnas, Adam McKnight, and Devin Leister to make a postseason run.
But hitting-wise, if the MHS Tigers are to advance, they'll have to swing the bats with authority when they play at Waverly in a sectional opener at 5 p.m. today.
As a team this spring, Marietta, which owns an 11-15 overall record (3-10 East Central Ohio League) is hitting .211.
JORDAN HOLLAND The Marietta Times
Marietta High shortstop Devin Leister bobbles the ball on a throw, while Warren’s Jake Scott slides safely into second during action at Legion Field earlier this season. MHS second baseman Steve Herron (9) comes over to back up. Marietta is scheduled to play at Waverly in a sectional opener today, and Warren is at Athens.
Barnas leads the orange and black with a .310 average. Sawyer is hitting .286; and McKnight, .281.
Jeff Noble-coached Waverly is 18-6. Last week, Noble notched his 300th career victory at the baseball helm in his team's 4-1 triumph over Oak Hill.
Marietta also has a milestone skipper in Larry Burke, who notched No. 400 in a 7-2 orange and black win at Meadowbrook in April.
Jim Thrash is Marietta's co-head coach.
"Waverly is the site our 2012 tournament loss," Thrash said. "Many of our players have a vivid memory of our disappointing loss that day. Our seniors are intent of erasing that memory with a big tournament victory this year."
The southpaw-throwing Sawyer (1.64 ERA) is expected to throw against Waverly. The other probable starters may be Joe Roberts (catcher), Austin Hefter (first base), Jordan Satterfield (second), Barnas or Steve Herron (third), Leister or Herron (shortstop), McKnight or Corey Spanner (left field), Nick Lewis (center), and Nick Spurr (right).
Michael Ullman, Nathan Bryan, or Spanner could be the designated hitter (DH).
Waverly, which competes in the Southern Ohio Conference, will probably counter with Pierce Knisley or Corey Johnson. Knisely, who is also one of the team's top sticks, fanned 13 in the win against Oak Hill.
Some other Waverly Tigers to keep an eye on will be Adam Tiu, Paul Underwood, Tyler Nartker, Tink Musser, and Elliott Newton.
"Waverly is a state-ranked team with 18-plus victories this season," Thrash said. "We will have to support our quality pitching with strong defense and some timely offensive production to defeat this tough opponent."
Warren at Athens
Also on tap at 5 p.m. today, the Mark Farr-coached Warren Warriors are scheduled to play at Athens in a sectional baseball opener.
Farr will probably pitch either Danny Pannell, Garrett Kennedy or lefty Justin Hill against the Bulldogs.
Warren's other probable starters may be Gunnar Smith (catcher), Pannell or Hill (first), Riley Bobo (second), Jake Scott or Kennedy (third), Ethan Estes (short), Zach McKenna (left), Lance Schafer (center), and David Ryan or Jake Freeman (right). Ryan and Scott could also DH.
The Warriors hosted the Bulldogs on May 4, and dropped a 5-4 decision in eight innings. Smith stroked two hits, including a triple, and had one RBI. Blake Kidder and Schafer each had a double, while Ryan, Estes and McKenna drove in one run apiece.
Pannell started on the hill and was relieved by Estes and Kennedy, who suffered the mound setback.