Prep baseball: Tiger bats come up short against River View

River View pitcher John Brillhart fanned 12 Marietta batters and surrendered just two hits in a complete game 9-2 victory over the Tigers at Legion Field Friday night.

Brillhart pitched around six errors, four walks and three hit batsmen to hold the orange and black to two runs.

“(Brillhart) pitched well,” said River View head coach Jesse Smoulder. “He’s a senior for us. He’s been on the mound a couple years so we have confidence in him. He had a good fastball, good off-speed stuff. He did a nice job keeping (Marietta) off balance because that’s a nice lineup of guys who can hit the ball hard.”

The Black Bears supported their hurler with nine runs on nine base hits.

Dylan Shepler was 2-4 at the plate with five runs batted in while Josh Bigrigg also went 2-4 with a double, a triple and two runs driven in. River View’s leadoff hitter Josh Knight set the table well, getting on base three times and scoring a run each time.

“We’ve been up and down with our hitting,” Smoulder said.

“That’s a step in the right direction for us. Hopefully we can build off of that. Quality mound outing from (Marietta pitcher Evan Sawyer) too, so that’s good to see.”

There was much less action for the Tigers at the plate. Joe Roberts and Sawyer had the only two Tiger base knocks, while Ben Barnas had an RBI.

“Obviously, the kid was very effective,” Marietta head coach Jim Thrash said of Brillhart, “but how many runners did we leave on base?

“He kept us from squaring up the ball. We hit very few balls very well and when people were on base he got even tougher.”

Sawyer started on the mound for Marietta and was effective for six innings, but recorded just one out in the final inning as the Black Bears put up a five spot to lock the game down.

“Evan was fine,” Thrash said. “There was a lot of things that happened behind him that hurt, but he’s out there battling the whole way.”

Steve Herron pitched in relief to get the final two outs of the seventh.

River View tagged Sawyer, who was coming off a complete game shutout over Warren, with an unearned run in the first.

Knight led off with a pop up but reached on an error, got to second on Dylan Watters’ sacrifice bunt and came around to score Shepler’s two-out RBI single to left field to put the Black Bears up 1-0.

River View added two more in the top of the third inning. After back-to-back singles by Zach Hagan and Knight to lead off the inning, Watters connected on his second sac bunt of the game to send the runners to second and third with one out. Two batters later, with two outs, Shepler popped up to shallow left field, but the ball fell into no man’s land and allowed both runners to touch home plate to make the score 3-0.

The Tigers were able to get a run across in the bottom of the third without the benefit of a hit. Devin Leister made it to second base on a dropped infield pop up to lead off the inning. Sawyer followed with a base on balls before Nathan Bryan was hit by a pitch to load the bases.

Heads-up base running allowed Leister to score when a throw back to the pitcher from behind the plate got away.

The Bears got that run back in the top of the sixth when Brillhart led off with a walk and scored on a double to left-center by Bigrigg.

Down 4-1, the Tigers had a big opportunity to decrease the deficit in the bottom of the sixth with the bases loaded, but were unable to come up with a clutch hit.

River View surged for five runs in the top of the seventh to put things out of reach. Marietta would get a run back in bottom half of the inning when Sawyer scored on Barnas’ RBI groundout, but it would not be nearly enough as the Bears claimed the victory.

The loss dropped Marietta’s record to 7-4 overall and 1-3 in the East Central Ohio League. River View improved to 7-5 overall and 2-2 in the ECOL with the win.

The Tigers’ next game is Monday when they host Rosecrans for another league contest.