Marietta bests Frontier and Warren in Pool A

VINCENT – A pair of wins Saturday put Marietta High right where it wants to be.

“We want to win championships this year,” said Tigers head coach Jim Thrash. “The first one we want to win is the Washington County championship.”

They’ll get that chance today when they play host to Fort Frye in the inaugural Washington County Tournament. With a 5-2 win over Frontier and a 6-5 victory over Warren Saturday in Vincent, the Tigers finished atop Pool A and advanced to today’s first place game. First pitch is scheduled for 5 p.m. against Fort Frye, which defeated Waterford and Belpre Saturday to win Pool B.

After each team defeated Frontier, Marietta and Warren squared off in the final game of the day with a spot in the championship on the line.

The Tigers jumped out to a 4-0 lead after three-and-a-half frames, but the Warriors finally got to MHS starter Trent Dawson for a five-spot in the bottom of the fourth to go up 5-4.

The Tigers rallied back in the sixth, though. Turner Hill, who had three hits and as many runs in the game, led off the inning with a single. After stealing second, Hill came around to score on Danny Hiser’s single to left to tie the game at 5-all. Later, with Hiser on second and Dawson at the plate with one out, a grounder to second was misplayed by the Warriors and allowed Hiser to come around for the go-ahead run.

Hill, who came on to relieve Dawson in the fourth, backed up Marietta’s two-run sixth with a scoreless bottom half. Brandon Neville took the hill in the seventh and tossed a scoreless frame to earn the save and give Marietta the victory.

“We found a way to get it back,” Thrash said of his team re-gaining the lead. “Having Turner and Brandon come in there those last couple innings and shut them down, that was fabulous.”

Hill pitched 2 2-3 scoreless innings to earn the win for Marietta. Dawson went the first 3 1-3 in his 2016 debut.

For Warren, Chase Weihl struck out four and walked two in four innings and received a no-decision. Bryce Gandee pitched three in relief. He struck out six to just one walk but was tagged with the loss.

“I was proud of them for not quitting,” Warren head coach Ryan Lemley said of his club. “It would have been easy for them to roll over right there (when Marietta went up 4-0) and we didn’t. We knew (Marietta) was a good team. Give them credit. They strung some hits together and executed the short game and did a lot of things right.”

Warren opened the day with a convincing 10-0, five-inning victory over the Cougars. Lefty Tanner Neal pitched five scoreless innings to earn the win for the Warriors. Zach Cunningham took the mound loss for Frontier but did have two of the Cougars’ five base hits.

Warren’s lineup was powered by two-hit games from Tanner Proctor and Drew Huffman. The Warriors also had five extra-base hits in the contest, including a triple by Gandee and doubles by Proctor, Huffman, Weihl and Colton Sammons.

The Cougars stepped up their game a bit against Marietta in the second tilt of the day. Facing a 5-0 deficit entering the fifth inning, Frontier plated a pair of runs in the top of the fifth thanks to wild pitches by Danny Hiser. The Cougars had a chance to get more but left the bases loaded. Hiser settled down after that and put up zeros over the final two innings to give the orange and black a 5-2 victory.

“That hurts when you do that,” Frontier skipper Kurt Satterfield said of leaving runners on base. “It takes the wind out of you.

“We could have folded that second game but we didn’t,” he continued. “We came back and we didn’t quit.”

The Tigers had an early 2-0 lead in the game but stretched it to 5-0 in the bottom of the fourth, thanks in part to a two-run double by Matthew Earley. Brandon Schamp struck out seven Cougar batters in four innings to earn the mound victory before giving way to Hiser, who punched out five over the final three frames. Hill was 2 for 3 at the plate in the game, making him 5 for 8 on the day.

After winning 17 games a year ago, the Tigers are off to solid start in 2016.

“I really believe they’re a group of winners and they’re going to find a way to beat you,” Thrash said.