THE PLAINS, Ohio — Without Whitlatch, the Meigs Marauders got bitten by the underdog Bulldogs.
That’s because host Athens handed the Marauders their first loss of the baseball season, and emphatically did so with an 11-1 victory on Monday in a Tri-Valley Conference Ohio Division tilt at Rannow Field in The Plains.
Athens, not facing Meigs pitching ace Chase Whitlatch in the rematch, amassed four runs apiece in the second and fifth innings — sandwiched around a three-run fourth.
Meigs was outhit 14-3, and scored its only run in the fourth inning on an RBI-single by T.J. Williams.
The contest was called following the fifth inning with the 10-run mercy rule.
The loss was the Marauders’ first in 14 games this season, as they blanked Athens 6-0 at Meigs High School two weeks ago.
Only on that day, Whitlatch was on the mound — and was actually scheduled to face the Bulldogs again on Monday.
Unfortunately, Whitlatch was out of the lineup after his elbow was injured from a batted ball in the team’s game against Marietta on Saturday.
The setback also drops the Marauders into a first-place tie in the TVC-Ohio with Alexander.
Both clubs are now 6-1 in the division, and Alexander will host Meigs for the rematch.
Athens improved to 6-8 overall and 4-3 in the league.
With Whitlatch out, Meigs went with Christian Mattox against Athens.
But the Bulldogs got to the sophomore for 10 runs on 12 hits before he was relieved in favor of Zach Helton in the fifth.
“Give Athens credit. Regardless of whether or not we had Chase tonight, they (Bulldogs) hit the ball well. Our pitching, we couldn’t hit our spots. You can’t throw it down the middle where they can hit it,” Meigs coach Brent Bissell told The Athens Messenger. “I know they’re (Bulldogs) are a good team. I knew coming in they were going to be ready to play. I expect our kids too. But tonight wasn’t our night.”
The Marauders also faced a different pitcher on Monday than in the first meeting.
Brody Rodgers went the distance for the Bulldogs, as opposed to Brendan Sano.
Rodgers didn’t disappoint, striking out four and only allowing three hits.
In addition to Williams’ single in the fifth, Layne Acree added two hits for Meigs.
Andy Kostival and Joseph Thomas tallied three hits apiece for Athens, as Sano, Waylon Bradbury and Hunter Mullins managed two hits apiece.
Cameron Kasler’s sacrifice fly to make it 2-0 gave the Bulldogs all the runs they needed for the win.
Before Monday, the Marauders had only allowed 22 runs all season, while outscoring all TVC-Ohio opponents 40-8.
The Marauders return home, and return to TVC-Ohio action, against Vinton County today (Wednesday, April 20).
Paul Boggs can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2106