Neville powers Marietta to victory over Cambridge

For the first time in four seasons, the Marietta Tigers played long ball.

Brandon Neville’s solo home run in the second inning and go-ahead two-run double in the fifth, combined with a sharp performance on the mound by Trent Dawson, helped give MHS a 5-2 win over visiting Cambridge Monday at Legion Field.

The last time a Tiger player homered was in 2012. Tim Grosel went deep three times that year.

Neville, a left-handed batter, led off the bottom of the second and yanked a Rusty Hayhurst offering over the fence in right-center field to give Marietta a 1-0 lead. It was the first home run of the three-year starter’s career.

“It’s pretty cool,” said Neville, a junior.

“I’ve been seeing the ball well lately and I saw it good tonight.”

It was a no-doubter to everyone in the home dugout.

“The kids knew it,” said Marietta head coach Jim Thrash. “That was exciting, but I’m more pleased with the gapper he hit with runners on first and third.”

With the game tied at 2-all in the fifth, Marietta had runners on the corners with one out. Neville stepped up and shot the ball deep to center field. Turner Hill and Isaac Danford both came around for the go-ahead runs.

“Nevvy’s been hitting the ball well recently,” Thrash said. “When he’s hitting, we’re a whole lot different.”

Marietta began the inning trailing 2-1 after the Bobcats scored a pair in the top of the fourth.

Matthew Earley started the Tigers’ rally with a double to right. After Turner Hill’s grounder resulted in an error to put runners on the corners, Dawson poked an RBI single to center to tie things up.

Two batters later, Neville came up with the clutch two-bagger, thanks to his “don’t think much, just hit the ball” approach.

Said Thrash, “I’m really proud of how Matthew got us started, and the top of the order just picked up right with it and got us that lead.”

Dawson went the seven-inning distance, striking out four without walking a batter. He improved to 5-2 on the bump.

“We had one bad inning where we gave away some bases, but otherwise we played well,” Thrash said. “Trent did another great job on the mound. That’s his fifth win of the year. He didn’t have his best stuff early on but he found it as the game went on.”

Freshman Kail Hill was 3 for 3 in the game and Danny Hiser was 1 for 3 for Marietta, which collected eight hits and committed just one error.

Marietta improved to 15-7 overall and is now 8-4 with one East Central Ohio League game, Wednesday at Cambridge, remaining. Before that, the Tigers will play Warren at 7 p.m. today at Don Schaly Stadium.

However, “the big game with Warren is in a week,” said Thrash, whose Tigers will take on the Warriors in the first round of sectional play Thursday, May 12.