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Too many miscues cost Edison in sectional final

COMING HOME — Edison catcher Eli Wilson waits for Martins Ferry’s Kam Hughes at home plate during Wednesday’s Division III East sectional final. -- Seth Staskey

MARTINS FERRY — There are multiple ways to win a baseball game.

Martins Ferry has proven in two sectional tournament games that it can get it done in a variety of ways.

After winning an extra-inning pitcher’s duel against Bellaire on Monday, the Riders broke out the bats Wednesday and needed basically all 12 of their hits and some additional help from Edison’s six errors, en route to posting a 10-7 victory to advance to next week’s Division III district tournament.

“When you play Edison, you literally have to throw dirt on them because you can’t give them life,” a relieved Purple Rider head coach Anthony Reasbeck said after watching his club allow three runs and escape a seventh-inning jam in which the Wildcats got the tying run to the plate. “They don’t win by accident. They’re that well coached, and their kids absolutely do not quit. They kept coming up from the grave. It got a little dicey coming down the stretch.”

The game was back-and-forth much of the way. Edison (14-10) struck first, and Ferry answered with a pair in the bottom of the second only to see the Wildcats score three runs in the fourth for a 4-2 lead.

That lead, however, was short-lived. Martins Ferry (15-9) got two of its own thanks to a trio of errors and an RBI groundout by Alex Bennett, who had three hits and drove in a like number in the game.

That shift in momentum proved to be the final one. Martins Ferry scratched across two runs in the fifth to take the lead and then blew the game open — at least it thought —  with a four spot in the sixth.

That decisive sixth inning included a RBI single by Colin Snedeker, an RBI from senior Chase Goff and an RBI from Colten Reddinger.

“I love our kids and I wouldn’t want to coach any other team,” Edison head coach Mike Collopy said. “One thing about Edison baseball player is they’re extremely competitive. There have been times throughout the season where we had our character checked. Our kids stayed together and battled until the last out. It wasn’t a perfect performance, and that’s no one’s fault.”

Come-from-behind wins weren’t out of the ordinary for the Wildcats, according to Collopy. Fortunately for the Purple Riders, senior Trevor Hanson, who was summonsed out of the bullpen in relief of classmate Logan Smith, who worked into the fourth, was able to limit damage.

“I love playing Martins Ferry, but at the same time I hate it because it’s like coaching against your own kids,” Collopy said. “We’ve had some really good battles with them over the years, and this (type of) game didn’t surprise us.”

Blake Connelly — who was a thorn in Ferry’s side all afternoon — led off the seventh with his third hit of the game. Ian McBane followed with a single, and Gage Cline drew a walk to load the bases.

Matt Parsons drove in Connelly on a fielder’s choice, with Ferry trading an out for a run. 

Designated hitter Cam Cooley followed with an RBI single to score Cline. Isaac Zastudil promptly singled to score Parsons to get the tying run to the plate.

However, Hanson got a much-needed strikeout, and then induced a hopper to shortstop Conner Probst, who stepped on second for the force to end the game.

“I could write a book about some of these games,” Reasbeck said when asked what was going through his mind in the seventh. “I just try to get out of the way and stay calm for our guys. It’s a tough spot to be in being on your home field, big game and having to make some plays. Credit to Edison, they hit the ball. They’re not going to quit.”

Minimizing damage was a key throughout for the Riders. Edison had the bases loaded in the first and scored just the one run. The Wildcats had a runner trying to score on a wild pitch cut down at the plate in the fourth to thwart another rally, and then in the seventh.

“I told our guys on the first day of practice (in February) the MO of our team was to be the scrappiest and toughest team, while playing harder than anyone you play against,” Reasbeck said. “They’re the definition of that. We could have lost this game. But, these guys are a team in the truest sense of the word.”

Next up for the Riders is a date with reigning Division III state runner-up Ridgewood.

Martins Ferry 10, Edison 7

Edison 1-0-0 3-0-0 3 — 7 8 6

Ferry 0-2-0 2-2-4 x — 10 12 1

EDISON: Connelly lp (2K, 1BB), Cooley (6) (0K, 0BB) and Wilson. Connelly D, 2S, 2rbi; McBane 2S, rbi; Parsons 2rbi; Cooley S, rbi; Zastudil 2S, rbi.

MARTINS FERRY: Smith (8K, 4BB), Hanson wp (3K, 1BB) and Goff. Bennett 3S, 3rbi; Redinger rbi; Goff S, rbi; Snedeker 2S, rbi; Hughes 2S; Hanson S, 2rbi; Probst 2S, rbi; Maine D.

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