May 25, 2012

Hopper's home run keys Marietta win

More news about: Marietta | Whitworth

Aaron Hopper hit a home run to start the scoring for Marietta.
d3photography.com photo by Larry Radloff

By Nate Woelfel, D3sports.com

GRAND CHUTE, Wis. -- As the lights illuminated Fox Cities Stadium at the end of day one of the 2012 Division III World Series all eyes were on Marietta. The returning champs delivered a show worth remembering in a 13-2 win over Whitworth.

Both teams squandered scoring opportunities in the opening frame. After back-to-back singles to lead off the game, Whitworth starter Dan Scheibe came back to strikeout the next two hitters.  A hit batter loaded the bases for Marietta who failed to convert.

Pioneers starter Austin Blaski fought his command in the early going and that opened the door for the Pirates. A pair of walks and a hit batter loaded the bases with two away. Blaski set down Joshua Davis to end the threat.

It was all Marietta from there on out. After stranding two runners in the second, the Pioneers broke through in the third courtesy of a two-run homerun from Aaron Hopper.

Marietta tacked on another in the third when Evan Brockmeier drew a bases loaded walk. A sacrifice fly from Tim Saunders in the fifth extended the Pioneers’ edge to four.

The Pioneers chased Scheibe from the game after five complete.  The freshman hurler allowed three earned runs on 11 hits, struck out four, and walked two.

Pirates’ reliever Taylor Isadore received a rude welcome in the sixth as the Pioneers tagged him for a pair of runs to go up 6-0.  Marietta got to Isadore for three more in the seventh. He exited the game giving up five runs on seven hits and walking one.

Blaski, the 2012 d3baseballl.com Pitcher of the Year tossed six innings of two-hit ball, struck out eight and walked three.

Whitworth got on the board in the eighth thanks, in part, to d3baseball.com West Region position player of the year Tyler Pfeffer who doubled in the Pirates’ first run of the ballgame. Pfeffer came around to score on a single from Landon Scott that cut the deficit the seven.

Fun facts from
the record book

Marietta's Kirby Becker had a record night on the plate.  His five hits in a game ties a Championship record for hits in a game shared with fourteen others.  This was last done by Jeff Grodecki, Illinois Wesleyan in 2010.  All his hits were singles, another reord he now shares with John Nicolo, Ithaca; John Hefner, Marietta; Mark Johnson, Marietta; and Shawn Donahoe, Chapman.

Marietta got both runs back and then some in the ninth to push its lead to 13-2.

Mike Mahaffey came on to shut things down for the Pioneers, pitching a perfect ninth to secure the win.
In total, the Pioneers pounded out 22 hits. Every starter reached base at least twice.  

Pioneers’ head coach Brian Brewer was satisfied with the victory, but would still like to see his team shore up things in a few of the facets of the game.

“We weren’t real sharp. We swung it all night, but we weren’t real sharp executing.,” Brewer said. “We didn’t get some bunts down early, didn’t get some hit and runs on the ground, but 22 hits kind of makes those things go away.”

Though the outcome of the game was apparent in the middle innings, the contest was an affair that flirted with the record book. Marietta’s Kirby Becker tied a World Series, single-game record for hits and singles with five. Mitch Geers tied a World Series record by being hit by a pitch three times in a single game.

Whitworth will square off against Christopher Newport in an elimination game Saturday at 1:15 p.m.

The result on the scoreboard may have been less than desirable, but Pirates’ head coach Dan Ramsay thought his team could build upon the effort they put forth in the school’s first ever World Series game.

“We can’t be deceived by the outcome. You can’t be deceived by what you see on the scoreboard,” Ramsay said. “This isn’t the first time we have faced adversity this year. Any time a team puts up 22 hits, at least we’re throwing strikes, we’re competing. It’s a tough draw for us, but we’re going to bounce back tomorrow.”

Marietta will take on St. Thomas in a winner’s bracket game Saturday at 7:45 p.m.

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