ROCKSPRINGS, Ohio — The Marauders win the rubber match and more importantly earn the spot in Thursday’s sectional final.
After a 1-1 split in the regular season series, the No. 8 seed Meigs baseball team claimed a 7-2 victory over ninth-seeded Jackson, in the Division II sectional semifinal on Monday in Meigs County.
The Ironmen (8-14) took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning, as Bryce Hall doubled home Kendall Neal. The Marauders (14-9) tied the game in the bottom of the frame, as Christian Mattox scored on a two-out single by Zach Helton.
Both teams were retired in order in the second inning, and Jackson left the bases loaded in the top of the third. Meigs left two runners on base in the home half of the third, but sent JHS down in order in the top of the fourth.
The Maroon and Gold took the lead with two outs in the bottom of the fourth inning, when Wesley Smith single home Tyler Johnson.
Meigs began adding on to its lead immediately, as Briar Wolfe singled home Mattox and Tyler Williams, then Helton drove in Smith, and finally Brentten Young singled home Wolfe and Luke Musser to cap off the fourth inning.
The Ironmen got one run back in the top of the fifth, as Billy Cooper scored on a sacrifice fly.
Jackson put two runners on base in each of the final two innings, but failed to score and fell by a 7-2 final.
“We had some timely hitting with two outs in the fourth inning,” MHS head coach Brent Bissell said. “Jackson always has a great baseball program. To get a win against a quality opponent, that says a lot about our kids and our coaching staff. I’m really proud of them.”
Musser earned the pitching victory in a complete game for the Maroon and Gold, striking out nine batters and allowing two earned runs on five hits, three walks and three hit batters.
“Luke Musser did a phenomenal job again tonight,” Bissell said. “You couldn’t ask for anything more from him. He’s stepped up this year and has been a good leader for us. He did a great job pitching against Jackson’s hitters. They’re traditionally a good team, they hit the ball well, and he kept them in check.”
Cooper Donaldson suffered the loss on the mound for the Ironmen, starting and pitching into the fourth inning.
Wolfe and Mattox both recorded two hits to lead the victors. Mattox was 2-for-3 with two runs scored, while Wolfe went 2-for-4 with a run scored and two RBIs.
Smith singled once, scored once and drove in one run for the Marauders, Williams added a single and a run scored, while Helton and Young both contributed a single and two RBIs. Musser helped his own cause, scoring one run in the win.
Billy Cooper led the guests at the plate, going 2-for-4 with one run scored.
The Marauders committed two errors and left seven runners on base, while Jackson had one error and stranded 10 runners.
Meigs also defeated Jackson on March 27, by a 2-0 count in the Apple City. The Ironmen avenged that loss on May 4, topping the Maroon and Gold by an 11-7 final in Rocksprings.
This is the seventh consecutive year that Meigs has won at least one postseason game. In the past four years, this marks the third postseason meeting between the Marauders and Ironmen. In 2015, Meigs knocked off Jackson by a 4-3 count in the sectional semifinal, while JHS eliminated MHS in the 2014 sectional final.
“I give credit to our kids,” Bissell said. “With the way our league is and our strength of schedule, it helps us prepare for tournament time.”
The Ironmen — who were the top seed last spring — have now gone three seasons without a tournament win.
Meigs will now be tasked with top-seeded Marietta, which brings a 19-3 record into the Thursday’s sectional final in Washington County. The Tigers swept the Marauders in regular season, winning 6-0 on April 4, in Rocksprings, and 14-1 on April 25, in Marietta.
“We’ve seen them twice and they’re a great program,” Bissell said of the top-seeded Tigers. “They’re a senior-laden team and we’ll have to play like we did tonight to give ourselves a chance.”
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.