Martins Ferry outlasts Harrison in D-III baseball


Times Leader Sports Writer

CAMBRIDGE – It was one for the ages.

And for Anthony Reasbeck, one that was long overdue.

When Jeremy Plants singled in Garrett Trudo with the game-winning run against Harrison Central, it was more than just the end of a game that took two days and 10 innings to complete.

It was the culmination of a three-year journey.

”Three years in a row we’ve played an extra-inning game in this sectional,” Reasbeck, Martins Ferry’s exuberant head coach, exclaimed.

”We got beat in extra innings in the OVAC final (against Steubenville), we got beat in extras the last two years here. Sooner or later, we’ve gotta win one of these dang things, right?”

Wednesday was the day.

The Purple Riders’ 2-1 victory against the Huskies – one of last season’s Ohio Division II state semifinalists – was sweet in many ways. For Reasbeck, the way it happened was the sweetest.

”I’m really happy they won it like this,” he said.

Like this was with one out in the bottom of the 10th, with Trudo on second and catcher Seth Scott on first.

Plants, nestled last in Ferry’s batting order, calmly dropped a Dustin Redish pitch into right centerfield, sending Trudo home, where a sea of purple awaited him.

”He is just a great baseball player, that’s what he is,” Reasbeck said of Plants. ”He’s unbelievable.

”I’ll take him any day of the week. He’s batting like .360 or something. That’s how smart I am … to put him ninth.

”That’s why he’s there. I like rolling that lineup over. He just got in the right spot.”

Harrison Central head coach Mike Valesko equated Plants’ hit to a leak finally bursting open a dam.

”Unfortunately, in games like this, someone has to lose,” he said. ”That being said, I thought the last five or six innings they put so much pressure on us. We had to make plays in the field and we were kind of living on the edge there a little bit.”

It’s true. Martins Ferry was banging on the door pretty hard in the latter innings and, in the ninth, it had it almost completely blown off.

The Purple Riders had runners on second and third with no outs, but the Huskies got out of the jam thanks to some nifty defensive plays a strikeout by Dustin Redish, who relieved Brennen Graves in the fifth.

”Our pitchers did a great job,” Valesko said. ”Dustin came in and gave us a great shot at winning.”

Graves allowed one hit – a double by Connor Coup – during a third inning in which Ferry tied the game at 1-1. Robert Vargo scored the run when Ethan Baire sent a sacrifice fly to left.

As great as the Huskies’ hurlers were, Ferry’s was just a step above.

Lucas Lloyd went all 10 innings, striking out nine and walking three. He allowed a run during the half an inning that was played Tuesday before play was suspended due to bad weather. But when the teams returned to Don Coss Field on Wednesday, Lloyd was virtually untouchable.

”Wow!,” Reasbeck said. ”Did he pitch a ballgame?!

”That’s the best I’ve seen him pitch in a long time.”

Lloyd allowed three hits during Wednesday’s action and one walk. In five of Harrison Central’s nine at-bats, three batters went to the plate.

The Huskies got their leadoff batters aboard in the fourth and fifth frames, but didn’t score. In the fifth, the leadoff batter was picked off at first, and, later in the inning, a runner was tagged out trying to steal second.

”In big games like this, it’s the small, little details that are the difference between winning and losing,” Valesko said.

And Lloyd got stronger as the game went along. He retired nine of the final 10 batters he faced, surrendering only a single in the 10th.

”I felt like we never (had them living on the edge),” Valesko said. ”We had a hard time getting guys into scoring position. It felt like it was weak fly ball after weak fly ball. And a lot of that is a credit to their pitcher. He did a great job.”

Reasbeck said he never considered pulling Lloyd.

”I just let him go,” he said. ”He doesn’t want me talking to him, so I just let him go.

Now, all Reasbeck has to concern himself with is the next tournament game, set for 5 p.m. Friday against either West Muskingum or Fort Frye. The Tornadoes and Cadets were tied at 2-2 in Wednesday’s second game before storms suspended play. That game is slated to resume at 4:30 today. Linescore:

Harrison 100 000 000 0 – 1 4 2

Ferry 001 000 000 1 – 2 8 2

H – Graves (4K, 3W), D.Redish (5) lp (4K, 4W) and Staten. Rocchi D.

M – L.Lloyd wp (9K, 3W) and Scott. Jacob 2S; Vargo 2S; Coup D, S; Plants S, gwrbi; E.Baire rbi.

Thorp can be reached at