MINGO JUNCTION - Martins Ferry scored five runs in the top of the eighth inning to break open a tie ballgame and go home with an 11-6 victory over Indian Creek Monday at the John Muth Recreation Complex. It was the mutual season opener for both baseball teams.
The Purple Riders jumped on Redskin starter Cole Yeater in the first inning as the first three batters scored and they tacked on two more runs in the second inning.
However, the Redskins bounced back, scoring their only six runs of the game in the bottom of the second inning while getting just two hits to take the lead at 6-5.
Seth Scott, the Martins Ferry starter, gave up only one hit in the second inning, but had control problems hitting three batters while walking three others. Adam Freshwater and Sean Smith each had RBI singles during the rally.
The Purple Riders came right back in the top of the fourth inning with a tally to knot the game at 6-6 where it stayed until the Martins Ferry explosion in the eighth.
After Yeater gave up the six runs early, he settled down to mow down the Purple Riders until the eighth. He went seven plus innings giving up the six runs on 11 hits, but ran out of gas when he walked the leadoff batter to start the eighth inning. The burly righthander struck out four and walked four.
Lefty Aaron Crawford relieved Yeater and gave up all five of the Purple Rider runs to take the loss.
It was senior Robert Vargo that carried the big club for the Purple Riders going three-for-three, driving in two runs and scoring two, but it was Scott, who stayed in the game at third base, that got the big blow in the eighth with a bases-loaded double.
"Vargo is an athlete and everybody in the Valley knows that," Martins Ferry coach Anthony Reasbeck said of his star. "I don't even have to talk to him about hitting anymore. I just let the big boy go."
With the score knotted at six, the Redskins had a golden opportunity to win the game in the bottom of the seventh inning when the first two batters reached base. Leadoff hitter Adam Freshwater was safe on an error and Yeater drew a walk off of Lucas Lloyd, who had relieved Scott in the second inning.
"I told the boys after the game that this one was on me," veteran Indian Creek coach, Mike Cottis, said. "The bottom line is we had a shot in the bottom of the seventh with first and second and nobody out. I should have bunted them and I didn't. I rolled the dice.
"Sean Smith had a hot stick hitting the ball in scrimmages and a hit tonight so I thought maybe he'd get a hit and drive one in. I should have played the percentages. So this one is on me."
It turned out that Smith flied out and Lloyd got the next two batters on ground outs to retire the side and set up his team's game-winning rally.
"This is my fourth year here and that's been our M-O every year," said Reasbeck. "We always seem to have one bad inning. When we play full games, we always seem to have that one bad inning. I don't know what causes that, but I hope it comes to an end quickly.
"Lucas fills up the strike zone," Reasbeck said of his relief pitcher, who finished the game scattering four hits while striking out nine. "When Lucas fills up the strike zone, it gives us a great chance defensively. He's a battler. When he comes in and battles, he gives us an unbelievable chance to win."
Martins Ferry 11, Indian Creek 6
Martins Ferry 320 100 05 - 11 14 4
Indian Creek 060 000 00 - 6 5 3
MARTINS FERRY (1-0): Scott (1K, 2W), Lloyd (2nd, WP, 8K, 2W) and Trudo. Vargo 2S, D, 2RBI, 2R; Sutton 3S, RBI, 2R; B. Baire 3B, S, 3R; Barbour 2S, RBI; Plants S, R; Scott 2B, 3RBI; T. J. Jacob S, R; Ethan Baire S, R.
INDIAN CREEK (0-1): Yeager (5K, 4W), Crawford (LP, 8th, 1K, 1W) and Trudo. Bolyog S, RBI, R; Freshwater S, R; Smith S, RBI, Crawford S, R; Whitaker S, R.