Marietta eliminated in sectional final

WAVERLY – The fifth inning in Thursday’s Division II sectional final baseball game between Marietta and Waverly proved to haunt one Tiger squad and lift the other.

With both teams scoreless going into the frame, Marietta had a golden opportunity to break the game open.

Austin Hefter led off the inning by working a nine-pitch walk. Next batter Nick Lewis squared around to bunt but was plunked in the back by a Pierce Knisely offering before Jordan Satterfield drew a base on balls to load the bases with nobody out.

Following a coaching visit to the mound, Knisely settled down, retiring Marietta’s two, three and four-hole hitters in order to escape the inning unscathed.

Waverly, seemingly riding the momentum of getting out such a big jam, responded with a pair of runs, courtesy of three MHS errors, in the bottom half of the inning. Those runs proved to be pivotal, as they were the only two of the game by either club, giving Waverly the 2-0 triumph.

Waverly, which advanced to district play with the victory, is now 20-7 on the year. Marietta was eliminated with the loss and ended its 2013 campaign 11-16.

“Obviously, our inability to score with no outs in the fifth inning, we took it into the field,” said Marietta co-head coach Jim Thrash.

Elliot Newton began the bottom of the fifth by grounding to third, but a throwing error allowed him to reach base safely. Paul Underwood followed with a bunt for a base hit, but two throwing errors on the play allowed Newton to come around and score the game’s first run.

After Knisely followed with a bunt base hit of his own, Tyler Nartker hit a fly ball deep enough to center to plate Underwood from third and make it a 2-0 game. Knisely attempted to go to third when the throw home missed the cutoff man, but catcher Joe Roberts made a nice play to throw him out and help Marietta escape further damage.

Knisely made those runs count in a big way, as he allowed just one Marietta base runner in the final two innings to preserve the lead and seal the victory.