Ferry blanks Bellaire 10-0 in 5

MARTINS FERRY shortstop Connor Probst and Bellaire base runner Jake Heatherington look toward the umpire for a call as Heatherington attempted to steal second base during the third inning of Thursday’s Division III sectional co-final at Martins Ferry. Heatherington was called out and the Purple Riders went on to post a 10-0 victory in five innings.

MARTINS FERRY – Anthony Reasbeck and his Martins Ferry coaching staff have had to ice their arms after all of the extra batting practice they’ve thrown during the Purple Riders week off between games.

Those sore arms are worth it as Ferry begins preparations for Tuesday’s Division III Eastern District semifinal against Ridgewood thanks to a 10-0, mercy-rule victory against rival Bellaire.

Ferry’s offense broke out in a big way, pounding out 13 hits, including five doubles against a pair of Big Reds pitchers. The offense did more than enough when you consider senior ace Colby Shriver was on the bump and was lights out once again.

“We have been killing the baseball (in practice),” Reasbeck said. “It got to the point (on Wednesday) when I was behind the screen and was still scared. We brought that to the field (Thursday). We’ve practiced well and we played well. They go hand in hand.”

The offense wasted no time in greeting Bellaire starter Chance Maffe, who worked into the second before head coach Josh Kernik went to his bullpen.

Maffe was tagged for four runs in the first, but only one was earned.

The Riders (18-3) produced those runs thanks to a sacrifice fly by Brayden Maine and three consecutive RBI singles from Shriver, Baron Lucey and Jesse Nagel.

“We had to take care of business and I thought we did a good job of that,” Reasbeck said.

The Riders, who sent 10 to the plate in the first, kept pouring it on in the second.

Nine more Purple players went to the plate in the outburst, which was sparked by RBI double from Maine, a two-run single from Shriver and back-to-back RBI doubles by Nagel and Ayden Ludolph.

“Martins Ferry is a heck of a team and they just beat us today,” Kernik said. “Did we play our best ball? No. And against teams like Martins Ferry, you have to play your best and then some. We have to find a new level.”

Staked to the commanding lead, Shriver just kept dealing. He allowed innocent singles in the second and fourth, never saw a Big Reds’ runner get into scoring position.

“His last two starts (of the regular season) against JM and Creek weren’t really Colby like,” Reasbeck said. “He was efficient in the strike zone (Thursday), changed speeds effectively and when he does that, he’s tough to beat.”

Shriver, who was 3-for-3 at the plate, doubled to lead off the fourth and eventually came around to score the 10th run on a base hit by his batterymate, Colton Redinger.

Reasbeck didn’t hesitate when asked about the district rematch with the Generals and his probable pitcher.

“When we got the top seed and took the bye, the plan was always to go Colby, Colby,” Reasbeck admitted. “If you have a chance to give him the ball and don’t do it, you’re out of your mind. He will get it again (on Tuesday) and we’ll keep riding him for as long as we can.”

Bellaire’s lone true highlight came on defense when left fielder Jakob Dowling made a sensational catch on a ball that looked to be headed for extra bases.

The Big Reds finish at 8-12.


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