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Marietta wins hard fought 5-4 battle over Waterford

Courtesy photo Marietta’s Mark Duckworth delivers a pitch during a high school baseball game against Waterford Wednesday. Marietta won, 5-4.

Waterford head coach Doug Huffman said before the game that he was hoping for a nice one-run ball game as his Waterford Wildcats played host to the Marietta Tigers Wednesday night. That is exactly what the fans were treated to as the two Washington County schools battled until the final out and Marietta held on for a 5-4 victory.

The Tigers were able to dent the plate in the top of the first inning off Waterford starter Jacob Huffman as Josh Martin singled to right and moved to second on a passed ball. Adam Coil grounded to second and was safe as the ball was misplayed to move Martin to third. Tiger freshman Ethan Clark grounded to shortstop as Martin crossed the plate to make it 1-0. The Bengals added a run in the second when Bryson Chavez drew a one-out walk and Malachi Morton doubled him to third. John Berry Wharff hit a sacrifice fly to score Chavez and make it 2-0.

It was Chavez who once again drew a walk to lead off the fourth for Marietta. Morton laid down a nice sacrifice bunt and Chavez raced to third and beat the throw as Waterford threw to first to retire Morton. The hustle play proved valuable as Chavez scored his second run of the night on a wild pitch and Marietta led 3-0.

“We moved the runners very well tonight”, said Tiger coach Josh McKitrick. “I was pleased with our execution on the bases.”

The Wildcats got things going in the fourth off Tiger starter Mark Duckworth, who had set them down in order over the first three innings while striking out five. Lane Cline reached on an infield error and Jude Huffman was hit by a pitch. A single by Jacob Huffman and double by Dylan Taylor tied the game at 3. Duckworth regained his composure and retired the next three hitters and it was 3-3 after four innings.

“We battled well tonight,” said coach Huffman. “Both teams made a few mental mistakes, but all in all we will take it. I love the county games and I love the atmosphere, it is good for our kids.”

The Tigers got two runs back in the top of the fifth with some help from the Wildcat defense. Adam Coil reached on an error as did Clark who laid down a bunt that was bobbled at first base on the throw.

A balk on the pitcher Huffman moved the runners up and Coil raced home on a wild pitch to make it 4-3. Trey Brown hit a hard grounder to shortstop against a drawn in infield and Clark scored to extend the lead to 5-3.

Waterford scratched a run in the fifth as Braden Miller was hit by a pitch and Cline hit the hole with a single on a well-executed hit and run play. Jude Huffman hit a sacrifice fly to cut the lead to 5-4. Neither team threatened in the sixth and Jonah Emery relieved Duckworth to pitch the 7th for Marietta. After the first two batters were retired, Cline drew a walk and advanced to second on a passed ball. The game ended when Jude Huffman hit a line drive right to third base which enabled Emery to earn the save for Marietta. Duckworth picked up the win, striking out seven as the Tigers moved to 8-6 and Jacob Huffman was the tough luck loser as Waterford dropped to 9-10.

“We need to get all the county teams back on the schedule either in a county tournament or home and away games,” said McKitrick. “These games are great for our communities.”

Waterford coach Doug Huffman agreed, adding “Playing Marietta is always good for us and we love to play local.”

Marietta is back in action today as they travel to New Philadelphia.

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