Tigers erase 8-0 deficit, beat Quakers 10-8
Baseball legend Yogi Berra once said, “It ain’t over until it’s over.”
Such was the case on a beautiful spring night at Legion Field in a game that the community can be proud of. The Marietta Tigers of head coach Josh McKitrick trailed New Philadelphia 8-0 in the bottom of the third inning and rallied for a nice comeback win as they scored 10 unanswered to seal a thrilling 10-8 victory.
It did not look good for Marietta early on as New Philadelphia plated two runs in the first inning off Tiger started Adam Coil on a two-run hard hit single to left from Mason Ricklic. After scoring two more runs on one hit in the second, New Philly took advantage of two Tiger errors and plated four more runs in the third to take a commanding 8-0 lead. Malachi Morton relieved Coil to get the final two outs of the third and did not allow a run the remainder of the game.
“Mal came in and did exactly what we needed him to do,” McKitrick said. “He gave us a chance to comeback and we did. It was an exciting team win and one we are proud of.”
The Tiger offense, which was shut out Monday against Dover, began to chip away and gained confidence as the game moved along.
“You could feel it in the dugout tonight. The kids wanted to win and they were excited and they would not give up,” said McKitrick.
Marietta scored two in the third as Mark Duckworth led off with a walk, and later scored on a one out single by Donavon Wheeler. Wheeler stole second and third and came in on a passed ball to make it 8-2.
Marietta added a run in the third as Morton singled, stole second and advanced to third on a fielders choice. Coach McKitrick then rolled the dice with 2 outs as he had Duckworth lay down a suicide squeeze bunt to make it 8-3 as Duckworth beat it out for an infield single.
The Tigers inched closer as Wheeler led off the fifth with another single, stole second, advanced to third on a fielders choice, and raced home on a passed ball to make it 8-4. Meanwhile Morton was mixing his pitches and he was able to strand New Philly runners on base in the fourth, fifth, and sixth innings to keep the Tigers within striking distance.
Magic was in the air in the sixth as Morton, Josh Martin, and Duckworth all worked walks off New Philly reliever Kaiden Stewart.
With the sacks loaded, Tiger senior Adam Coil unloaded on the first pitch and drove it to the fence in right field for a double driving in two. After an out, Wheeler singled in Duckworth, to make it 8-7. Wheeler once again stole second base and freshman Ethan Clarke came up big as he singled in Coil and Wheeler to put the Tigers in front 9-8. Chandler Goddard singled and Jonah Emery singled in Clark to give the Tigers an insurance run.
Morton stranded two more runners in the seventh as he knuckled down and stuck out the final two batters to end the game and earn the victory.
“I am very proud of our kids for not giving up. After the Dover game, it would have been easy to pack it in, but our team showed great character tonight,” said an elated McKitrick. “We have two players with varsity experience, this is a great win for us to build on, we will take it.”
Marietta will be back in action at Warren on Friday in the first of two meetings during the season. First pitch is scheduled for 5 p.m.