CADIZ - Harrison Central's baseball team advanced to the OVAC Class 4A championship after holding off Martins Ferry for a 7-6 decision on Mazeroski Memorial Field Saturday morning.
"It was not a work of art," said Harrison head coach Justin Clifford. "However, I feel it is the mark of a real quality team when they can overcome mistakes and can still win."
The Purple Riders got on the scoreboard first when Marcus Sutton drew a walk, Tyler Strama moved him into scoring position and Robert Vargo pushed him across with a single.
The Huskies answered in the bottom of the frame when a Nick Pelegreen infield hit plated Dustin Redish who had reached on a walk.
Martins Ferry stranded one in the second but Harrison Central took advantage of a pair of walks and an error allowed Dalton Rutter aboard and Nick Staten to score the go-ahead run. Staten scored when Redish laid down a sacrifice bunt making it 3-1 Huskies.
Sutton reached on an error to start the third inning and Strama stroked a one-hop line drive to the fence in center field to score his teammate. The would-be double was shortened when the senior buckled on the bag at first with an apparent hamstring injury.
Harrison Central 7, Martins Ferry 6
Martins Ferry 101 030 1 - 6 8 2
Harrison Central 130 300 x - 7 6 6
MARTINS FERRY: Strama (LP, 2K, 4BB), Oberdick (3rd, 7K, 4BB) and Scott. Baire 2S; Sutton S; Strama S; Vargo 2S; Oberdick S; Trudo D.
HARRISON CENTRAL (15-3): R. Mitchell (WP, 5K, 3BB), Pelegreen (4th, 5K, 1BB) and Staten. Rutter 2S; R. Mitchell S; Pelegreen 2S; Horn S.
Harrison Central would rally in the bottom of the fourth inning after a leadoff pair of walks put Rhett Kuryn and Kalub Mitchell aboard. Once again Rutter made first on a miscue, this time the damage included both base runners scoring on the overthrow.
The Huskies led 7-2 but the Purple Riders were not ready to concede. Mike Oberdick got the inning started with a single and Brenden Baire doubled to put two runners in scoring position. An error allowed Oberdick to score and put Jacobs at the opposite corner. Ethan Baire plated Brenden Baire with an RBI single and a fielding error plated Jacobs.
Nick Pelegreen got Sutton to fly out to left field ending the inning with the Hsukies clinging to a 7-5 lead.
Rutter was thrown out at the plate in the sixth to keep the deficit unchanged. Scott scored in the top of the seventh to narrow the gap to a single run but the Huskies defense put the cap on the win with a 6-4 force out to end the threat.
"We hit the ball better than Harrison Central did today," said Martins Ferry head coach Anthony Reasbeck. "But we could not catch a break. Even if we catch half a break, I think we win this one."
"It was our first playoff atmosphere game," countered Clifford. "I think we have to get used to the pressure."
The Huskies will face Steubenville at 11 a.m. next Saturday at Vaccaro field for the 4A championship.