Jillian Middleton pitches Marietta High softball past New Philly

RON JOHNSTON The Marietta Times Marietta’s Jillian Middleton (11) delivers a pitch during a high school softball game against New Philadelphia Friday at Phillips Field. Marietta won, 8-2.

All Marietta High needed was one big inning.

The Tigers plated eight runs in the bottom of the second en route to an 8-2 triumph over visiting New Philadelphia High in an East Central Ohio League softball game Friday.

“I felt that if we could find the holes that the hits would start coming,” said MHS skipper John Doughty. “And that’s what happened.”

Marietta (3-2 overall, 1-1 ECOL) finished with seven hits in the contest, and five came in the second frame. Betsy Wriston and Madison Gault each had two hits to lead the offense. Wriston also drove in two runs as did Hunter Welch.

“I’ve been very happy with our offense,” Doughty said. “Last night, we put the bat on the ball, and lost 4-2 (to Dover High), but we didn’t strike out a whole lot — and we got some nice hits just right to them. Tonight, it was a different story. We found the holes and that was a big difference.”

Sophomore righty Jillian Middleton pitched a seven-inning complete game for the winners, fanning six, walking two, and allowing four hits and two earned runs.

“My riseball wasn’t working too well today,” Middleton said. “But my fastball and change-up were there.”

New Philadelphia southpaw Lilly Goodwin suffered the mound setback, allowing eight runs and five hits. Right-hander Sarah Carroll relieved Goodwin in the second and finished the contest.

Offensively, Krista Delatore stroked two hits for the Quakers (1-5), and Allie Jurkovic had an RBI double.

New Philly staked itself to a 1-0 advantage in the top of the first when Kayla Morgan beat out an infield hit, and later scored on a strike-three passed ball.

After being retired in order by Goodwin in the bottom half of the first, MHS knocked the Quaker hurler out of the box with a bat-around in the bottom of the second. Getting things started with one out, Gault singled to left. Then, Bailey Hogue and Caitlyn Corpman each received a free pass to load the bases.

Next up, Kaylee Hamrick beat out a hit to short to plate Gault and tie the game at 1-all.

The deadlock was brief as Wriston doubled home two runs with two outs to give the Tigers a 3-1 lead. That was followed by a two-run single by Welch to make it 5-1. Welch then legged it home on a Quaker throwing error which allowed Middleton to reach base safely.

Vanessa Wilson, running for Middleton, scored on Hannah Kroft’s double to right to make it 7-1. And then Kroft raced home on Gault’s single to center, which stretched the Tiger advantage to 8-1.

After Gault’s hit, Goodwin was relieved by Carroll, who retired the side on a groundout.

In the top of the fourth, back-to-back doubles by Delatore and Jurkovic reduced the deficit to six.

Middleton walked the first New Philly batter she faced in the fifth, but then retired the next nine Quakers to finish the game. In the sixth, she struck out the side.

“Jillian pitched very well,” Doughty said. “She’s put a lot of time and effort into it, especially in the summertime.

“And the defense was really good behind her. You can’t ask for anything else than that.”

Marietta played errorless ball behind Middleton.

“You trust your offense and your defense, and they came through,” Middleton said. “We struggled last game. We had five errors, but we came back and played pretty good this game.”