Prep baseball: Tigers top Quakers 8-4

Marietta High will take runs anyway it can get them.

The Tigers plated eight unearned runs to earn an 8-4 triumph over New Philadelphia in an East Central Ohio League baseball game at American Legion Field Friday.

“It was an ugly game, but it’s better than losing,” said MHS co-skipper Larry Burke, whose Tigers (3-2 overall, 1-1 ECOL) posted their first league win of the spring. “Some weird things happened.”

Ryan Range-coached New Philadelphia (3-3, 1-1), which had a three-game winning streak snapped, committed seven costly errors in the contest.

“New Philadelphia’s a better ballclub than that,” Burke said. “They just had a rough game.”

Marietta’s Ben Barnas (2-1) picked up the mound victory, fanning two and walking four in five innings of work. The senior right-hander, who hurled a two-hit shutout against Athens in his previous outing, extended his scoreless innings streak to 10 before the Quakers scored two on him in the fourth inning.

“Ben pitched a good game,” Burke said.

Sophomore righty Devin Leister got the save, throwing a scoreless 1-2/3 frames. He finished with three strikeouts, all in the final inning.

Offensively for the Tigers, senior Joe Roberts was 3-for-3 with an intentional walk at the plate and also scored two runs. Austin Hefter was credited with the orange and black’s only RBI in the contest.

“I hit the ball well in Zanesville (Wednesday) and it just carried over to this game,” Roberts said. “I like hitting in the six-hole in the lineup, because you see a lot of fastballs, and you don’t have to worry as much about curveballs.”

With two outs in the bottom of the third, Marietta’s Leister and Evan Sawyer came around to score on an errant pickoff throw to first base by New Philly starting right-hander Dakota Hill.

Then, Nick Spurr legged it home on Adam McKnight’s grounder to the Quaker shortstop, who misplayed the ball, making it 3-0. After Roberts singled to left, McKnight came around to score on another error by the shortstop. The fifth run of the frame was scored by Roberts, who was driven home on Hefter’s single to right.

New Philadelphia got two runs in the top of the fourth to reduce the deficit to three (5-2). One of the runs was unearned.

In the bottom half of the inning, Marietta’s Steve Herron beat out a hit to third, advanced to second on a groundout, went to third on a wild pitch, and legged it home when the Quaker catcher’s attempted pickoff throw ended up down the left field line. That made it 6-2.

New Philly plated two runs in the sixth to cut it to 6-4.

But MHS got those two back in the bottom half of the inning without the benefit of a hit. Leading off, Sawyer walked and raced to second on a wild pitch. Two outs later, Roberts was walked. When Nick Lewis’s grounder was misplayed by the third baseman, Sawyer scored.

And, then Roberts came home when Hefter’s grounder was again booted by the shortstop.

“That’s what we always talk about, quality at-bats,” Roberts said. “We reached base on walks, errors, and had good-at bats. That’s what leads to runs.”

Marietta is scheduled to host both Vinton County and Southern in non-conference games at noon Saturday.