Marietta Post 64 mercies Hebron, 12-2
Clay Hayes didn’t get too many good pitches to hit after his first at-bat.
The Waterford graduate slugged a three-run homer in the bottom of the first inning as Marietta Post 64 mercied Hebron Post 285, 12-2, in eight innings Friday night at Don Schaly Stadium.
“Coach (Brian) Brewer preaches hunt fastballs with the hands, and I was hunting fastballs,” said Hayes, who was 1-for-2 with four ribbies in the contest. “It was the second pitch, and I hit the ball well. After that, I had two straight walks.”
Marietta (4-2) only had eight hits in the American Legion baseball contest, but it also benefitted from 14 walks, two hit batsmen and two errors.
“That always helps,” Brewer said. “Freebies are good. We’ll take all the freebies that we can get, errors, walks, hit batsmen, whatever it takes.
“If we can get these kids on base then we can start doing some things and applying some pressure. I think we’re getting better.”
Offensively, Marietta catcher Isaac Huffman was issued four straight free passes after doubling in the first inning. Brandon Neville added a triple and two runs-batted-in; and Turner Hill and Bryce Gandee each drove in a run; and Kail Hill had two hits, including a double.
Righty Zach Cunningham started on the hill and got the win. Kail Hill relieved and threw two scoreless innings.
“A little tight zone behind the plate, and I thought Zach handled that well,” Brewer said. “And Kail did a nice job coming in.”
Hebron, which dropped to 3-3 on the season, finished with just four hits. Jacob Hulse had his team’s only extra-basehit, a double in the second inning.
The right-handed-throwing Hulse also suffered the mound setback.
After Cunningham retired Post 285 in order in the top of the first, Post 64 went to work.
With one out in the bottom half of the frame, Gandee and Danford each walked. Stepping into the batter’s box, Hayes blasted a Hulse delivery over the left-field fence to make it 3-0.
“Clay put a good swing on it,” Brewer said. “He got a fastball up.
“It’s always easier to pitch with a lead. So, we were able to do that.”
Huffman followed with a double to left-center, and advanced to third on a wild pitch. He then legged it home on Neville’s groundout, making it 4-0.
Hebron got two of those runs back in the top of the second with Grayson Snyder and Nate Smith each plating a score.
In the bottom of the second, Marietta stretched its lead lead to 5-2 without the benefit of a hit. Dan Hiser, who led off the inning with a walk, came around to score on a throwing error.
Post 64 added another run in the third without the benefit of a hit, capitalizing on a walk, hit batsman, sacrifice bunt, and Turner Hill’s groundout RBI.
The home team’s lead bulged to 8-2 in the fifth with Gandee and Hayes each hitting a sac fly.
Neville tripled home a run in the seventh, and Post 64 got another on a steal of home by Gandee to make it 10-2.
Kail Hill led off the eighth with a double to left, and that was followed by three straight walks, and two wild pitches, which ended the game.
“We’re playing really well,” Hayes said. “We’re starting to play together as one.”