CAMBRIDGE - Of the 11 runs scored there was only one earned and it took nine innings to decide game three of a Division III sectional tripleheader at Don Coss Field inside City Park as Monroe Central topped second-seeded Martins Ferry, 6-5.
It was not an unexpected outcome for Monroe Central skipper Ryan Rosnick, "This is the sixth meeting between these two ball in two years and we have won both sectional games against them by a single run in the last inning,"
The Purple Riders scoreed in the first inning then the Seminoles rallied for three runs in the third. Martins Ferry came right back in the top of the fourth to knot the score at three apiece.
T-L Photo/MIKE PALMER
MARTINS FERRY’S Brendan Baire (left) and Ethan Baire cover second on a steal as Monroe Central pitcher Kordell Antill slides in safely. The Seminoles prevailed in 9 innings, 6-5.
Martins Ferry jumped ahead 4-3 in the fourth but found its back against the wall in the seventh as the 'Noles had plated a pair in the sixth to re-take the lead.
Martins Ferry's Robert Vargo drew a lead-off walk and then advanced two bases on consecutive passed balls, Kordell Antill hit Glenn Trudo with a pitch then a throwing error plated Vargo to tie it up.
The Purple defense and Michael Oberdick on the mound would leave a runner stranded for the Seminoles to force the extra frames.
Martins Ferry had a lead off walk in the top of the eighth, but could not capitalize.
Jacob Black singled to lead off the bottom of the eighth but once again the Riders would hold on defense stranding the 12th Seminole base runner of the contest.
The Purple Riders threatened in the top of the ninth as they put two on with no outs setting the table for Trudo. The 1-0 count pitch shot off the bat and into left where Jeremy Luyster laid out for a diving catch that saved the game for the Seminoles.
"That catch was huge, it was a big out for us" Rosnick said. "If he does not make that catch they score at least one, probably two and have a runner in scoring position with no outs."
The Seminoles' Peter Frontz singled to right field but was erased on a 9-4-5 play as Eric Ward doubled setting up the winning run which scored on a throwing error.
"I feel bad for them, they played just as hard as we did and it is tough to see the number two seed go home when you have the two and three seed match up against each other in the first round," Rosnick added. "I feel it is a very competitive sectional and on any given day anybody could beat anybody else."
"It is tough way to go out, but you have to give these kids credit because nobody expected us to be here two months ago," an emotional Purple Rider coach Anthony Reasbeck complimented his Purple crew. "These four seniors have been snakebit all season, "
The Seminoles will return to Cambridge Wednesday to face off against St. Clairsville.
Martins Ferry 102 100 100 - 5 6 4
Monroe Central 030 020 001 - 6 5 8
Batteries: Scott, Oberdick(5) and Trudo, Antill and Groves.