Tigers beat Meigs, move on to district
MARIETTA — Talk about opening tournament play in style.
Nearly everything went Marietta’s way in its 10-0 Division II sectional final victory over Meigs Thursday at Legion Field. Starting pitcher Brandon Schamp threw a five-inning no-hitter while the Tigers’ lineup struck for 13 hits off Meigs pitchers Christian Mattox and Zayne Wolfe.
“A lot of excitement on our team today,” said Marietta coach Jim Thrash, whose Tigers repeated as sectional champs for the first time since 2009. “They were ready to play. When you’ve got a pitcher that’s going to go out there and throw strikes and a defense that makes plays on balls that are put in play like we did tonight, we can win some ball games.”
Marietta improved to 21-3 overall, while Schamp improved to 8-1 on the mound. Schamp walked three batters and struck out six in what was his second no-no of the season.
“In the bullpen I felt really good,” said Schamp, who held Lakewood St. Edward hitless back in April. “I hadn’t pitched in a week and a half, so that was a good rest. In the bullpen my two-seam (fastball) was working really well, and when I got out here it was still working and that helped a lot.”
Schamp had plenty of support as Turner Hill and Trent Dawson collected three hits apiece while Danny Hiser, Matthew Earley and Kail Hill all had two.
“I think we’re seeing the ball well right now and it couldn’t come at a better time,” said Turner Hill, whose bases-clearing triple in the fifth made it 9-0. “Hopefully we can just keep it going throughout the tournament.”
The Tigers will face Washington Court House in a district semifinal Monday in Athens. The Blue Lions defeated Fairfield Union 2-0 Thursday. Last year, Marietta advanced to the district championship before falling 1-0 to Athens.
“Having a district final loss last year made us more hungry for this year,” said Hill, who finished with five runs-batted-in out of the leadoff spot. “We’ve got the experience. We’ve been there before. Hopefully we can use that to get us to the next step.”
After Zach Deskins’ sacrifice fly plated a run in the first inning, Hill drove in two more in the second on a single to left field. Dawson later plated Hill with a base hit to right to make it 4-0. That was more than enough support for Schamp, who didn’t allow a base runner until he walked K.J. Tracy with two outs in the third.
“He throws hard and he’s just a stud up there,” Hill said. “It doesn’t seem like anybody can hit him.”
Added Thrash, “He’s got all his teammates to thank, but especially Matthew Earley for a very heads up play in right field.”
With one away in the fourth, Schamp allowed a line drive to Briar Wolfe that dropped in front of right fielder Earley, seemingly for a base hit. But Earley fielded it cleanly and fired a strike to Hiser at first to record the out and preserve the no-hitter.
“That was huge,” Schamp said of the play. “I jumped up and down after it happened. I saw him come up firing and I knew he had him as soon as he threw it.”
Schamp threw 50 of his 80 pitches for strikes and allowed only one or two hard hit balls.
“It was good pitch-calling,” he said. “Up and down, in and out — just keep them guessing.”
Marietta, which visits Warren for a makeup game today, plated two more runs in the fourth and four more in the fifth. Brandon Neville had an RBI single in the fourth, Mattox’s final inning of work. The Marauders’ right-hander walked one and struck out four in the loss. Wolfe retired one batter in the fifth before Hill’s three-run triple and Dawson’s RBI single ended the game.
“Mattox is a nice pitcher,” Thrash said following Marietta’s 12th straight victory. “We squared up a lot balls in good situations. We came up with hits when we needed them. Some good two-strike, situational hitting. Just a great job all around. Can’t be any happier for them than I am today.”
Meigs’ season came to a close with a 14-10 record. The Marauders ousted the Tigers from tournament play in 2014 and 2015, but the third time was the charm for Marietta.
“It’s nice to beat Meigs in tournament play,” Thrash said. “Coach (Brent) Bissell and his guys are just hard-nosed ball players. I know they wanted to win this one very badly, but we’re excited to be moving on and going to Athens on Monday. Hopefully we’ll be playing for a couple more weeks.”