Sectional scare: Cadets get past West Muskingum in tourney opener

RON JOHNSTON The Marietta Times Fort Frye catcher Logan Isner, right, awaits a throw while West Muskingum’s Matt Burnett (10) slides safely into home during sixth inning action Saturday in Beverly. Fort Frye won, 8-5.

BEVERLY — Zane Greenleaf swung a hot bat in the No. 9 spot.

The Fort Frye sophomore second baseman was 3-for-3 with a triple and two runs-batted-in to lead the host Cadets to an 8-5 come-from-behind win against West Muskingum in an Ohio Division III sectional opener Saturday.

“Zane, at the bottom of the order, got us going in the sixth inning and came up with some timely hits,” said FFHS skipper Sonny Bidwell. “Nate (Brothers) had a good game.”

Brothers was 3-for-4 with a double, while Tyler Bradford added two hits and an RBI. Tate Engle and Logan Isner each drove in a run, and Luke Nelson scored two runs.

Bradford got the win in relief. Nelson started and threw four scoreless innings before being relieved by Devin Layton.

Fort Frye, third-seeded with a 15-4 overall record, advances and is scheduled to host Ridgewood in a sectional final at 5 p.m. Tuesday. Ridgewood edged Coshocton, 5-4, Saturday to advance.

No. 15-seeded West Muskingum exits with a 2-16 mark. Matt Burnett had two hits to lead the Tornadoes. Kurklynd Gard drove in two runs, and Kevin Adair plated one.

West M reliever Dylan Mitchell suffered the mound setback.

“Hats off to West M,” Bidwell said. “They played a great game.”

Fort staked itself to a 2-0 advantage in the bottom of the third when Engle drove in Nelson with a sac fly and Bradford legged it home on a Gard wild pitch.

In the fourth, the Cadets stretched their lead to 4-0 on Greenleaf’s two-run triple to right-center.

West M cut it to one, 4-3, in the top of the fifth when Gard cleared the bases with a double.

The following frame, the Tornadoes benefited from a Cadet error to tie the game and then took their first lead of the contest, 5-4, on Adair’s RBI hit to right.

“We made it interesting,” Bidwell said.

In the bottom half of the sixth, Greenleaf led off with a single to left and advanced to second when Nelson walked.

After a pitching change, Bradford greeted the West M reliever with a game-tying RBI hit to right. Engle was then intentionally walked for the second straight time.

Next up, Isner plated Nelson with the go-ahead run, a sac fly to left, making it 6-5.

Bradford then legged it home standing up on a wild pitch, and Engle scored on the Tornado catcher’s errant throw to third.

In the top of the seventh, Bradford closed out the game with two strikeouts and a pickoff.

“Tyler Bradford did a nice job on the mound at the end,” Bidwell said.

The Fort Frye boss added, “We had a great effort today and the first round of the tournament is always the toughest one. But our kids in the clutch came through and did a nice job.”