Tigers get hard fought win over Warren

Hill’s grounder and snag proves the difference

MARIETTA – Tuesday was a perfect example of what can be expected when Marietta and Warren square off on the baseball diamond.

In a game that had four lead changes, it was the host Tigers who came away with a 5-4 victory over the Warriors in a rivalry showdown at Legion Field.

With two outs and Corbin Alkire on third base in the bottom of the fifth, the game tied at 4-all, Kail Hill’s grounder to third was booted to bring in the go-ahead run. Hill then pitched a scoreless sixth and seventh frame, including making an impressive catch on Kurt Taylor’s line drive back up the middle for the final out of the game.

“We know it’s going to be a battle every time we play them,” said Marietta head coach Josh McKitrick. “They get better as the year goes on. We knew it was going to be a battle today. So I’m proud of the way we came in and fought.”

Warren took the first lead of the game with a two-run second inning off Marietta starter Corbin Alkire. With runners at first and second and two down, Caleb Davis laced a two-run double to the left field fence. Taylor scored the first run before Hunter Vincent came all the way around from first to score the second. He was nearly thrown out on a perfect relay throw from Hill at short, but the ball got away from catcher Justin Thompson.

Davis tried to advance to third on the play, but Thompson collected the loose ball and fired a strike to third for the out. The inning also included a diving catch in left field by Cole Alkire.

The Tigers manufactured a couple runs in the bottom of the second to tie the game. Derek and Mark Duckworth each tallied RBI groundouts in the inning.

Marietta took a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the fourth after Hill drew a walk, stole second, went to third on a wild pitch and scored on another Derek Duckworth RBI grounder.

Hill took over on the mound for Corbin Alkire in the fifth and ran into some bad luck. After two quick outs, Seth Dennis singled to center field and stole second. He then scored when Evan Gandee’s grounder to third went off Jarrett Jackson’s glove on a dive attempt, tying the game at 3-3. Noah Edgell hit an infield single to second, and Taylor’s grounder to second was misplayed to give the Warriors a 4-3 lead.

“Give (Warren) credit,” McKitrick said. “They put the bat on the ball. They got a couple little bloopers into no-man’s land. Got guys on. They did a good job.”

“Kail did a nice job coming in those last three innings. He was throwing ground balls. That’s really the key to it.”

Marietta answered again in the bottom of the fifth, starting with Cole Alkire’s leadoff single to center. He went to second on Adam Coil’s sacrifice bunt before his brother Corbin drew a walk. Jackson poked an RBI single to left to the game, setting up Hill’s grounder to third to bring in the go-ahead run.

Warren didn’t go away quietly, though. Two infield singles put runners on the corners with one out, Evan Gandee grounded out to Hill before Taylor lined right back to the mound to end the game.

“Kail made a great play,” said Warren head coach Ryan Lemley. “Play of the game.

“I thought Kurt hit that ball really hard. If Kail doesn’t make that play, that ball’s up the middle and we’re ahead one getting ready for the bottom of the seventh here.”

Brett Gandee pitched five innings for the Warriors and took the loss, walking three and striking out one. Huffman pitched a scoreless sixth in relief.

Alkire got a no-decision, throwing four frames with two walks and two Ks. Hill fanned three and didn’t walk a batter in three innings to earn the mound victory.

Warren, which plays host to Southern Friday, dropped to 8-6 overall but has been playing its best ball of the season according to Lemley.

“I think the first time (playing Marietta) it was 9-1,” Lemley said. “Today, we’re right there with the tying and go-ahead runs on second. That’s been the story of us this last little bit. We’re 7-3 in our last 10, and in the three losses we’ve had the tying or go-ahead run on base every time. We’re a young team and I think we just keep getting better.”

The Tigers improved to 11-4 overall and won their ninth straight game against the Warriors. They visit Meadowbrook today.