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Barton Walks Off Martins Ferry 5-4

photo by: Kim North

Barton shortstop Dom Gorence tags Martins Ferry’s Brycen Hair as he slides towards second base during Monday night’s Ohio Valley Baseball League game on Henning Field inside Pramesa Park in Crescent. The host Braves used a walk-off single by Colton Coss, backing up the play, in the seventh for a 5-4 win.

CRESCENT – After a trio of tough losses last week, Barton needed a win in the worst of ways entering Monday night’s Ohio Valley Baseball League contest.

Veteran Colton Coss singled up the middle with two out and the bases loaded to give the host Braves (5-5) a 5-4 victory over Martins Ferry on an unseasonably cool night on Henning Field inside Pramesa Park.

“I’m always looking for a first-pitch fastball and he gave me one,” Coss said of his game-winner. “I stayed on it.”

Barton manager Billy Timko was happy with the win, but said it should’ve come an inning earlier.

“If Coss gets a bunt down in the sixth, we win it there. We can’t play this macho baseball. We’ve got to play smart baseball,” he stressed.

With one out, winning pitcher Cooper Blackburn dropped a double into left-center and Colby Shriver was walked intentionally. Jake Winland then coaxed a walk from Gian DeGenova to load the bases. It appeared Barton had won when Ben Wach’s blooper over the mound seemed headed up the middle, but Martins Ferry shortstop Kaleb Baire made an outstanding diving catch for the second out. Coss ripped the next pitch back through the box as Blackburn came home.

“We’ve been struggling with walks all year and they hurt us again tonight,” Martins Ferry manager Andy Sutak said.

“We only had nine guys tonight, but they battled. Hopefully, in the next game we can turn things around.”

Martins Ferry pitching – Lex Wilhelm, Nate Bittinger and DeGenova – issued 11 base-on-balls and gave up just four hits. They did fan seven.

The Marlins (4-5) led 4-1 after scoring twice in the top of the fifth on DeGenova’s two-out double down the left field line that just eluded a diving Blackburn and caromed out of play for a ground-rule double. Mason Goddard drew a leadoff walk and Brycen Hair perfectly executed a hit-and-run as Goddard scampered to third. Hair then stole second and, with two out, DeGenova came through in the clutch.

Barton answered with three runs in the bottom of the inning as Wach singled to center leading off. Coss and Gorence drew back-to-back walks to load the bases. Kaden Blomquist reached on a fielder’s choice as a run scored on an error, making it 4-2. Zac Taylor picked up an RBI with a bases-loaded walk and Sy Howell’s seeing-eye single up the middle even the count.

Martins Ferry avoided further damage when Bittinger fielded a drive off the bat of Kaden Blomquist while playing first. He threw a strike to catcher Marcus Bush at the plate for the force. Bush then rifled a bullet to Bittinger covering first to complete the rare 3-2-3 double play

The Braves left the bases loaded in the sixth as DeGenova got a called third strike to end the rally.

Blackburn relieved Gavyn Romanyk to start the sixth. He struck out four and walked nobody. Romanyk had seven Ks and two free passes. They teamed on a six-hitter.

“Cooper did a good job in relief for us,” Timko noted. “The league is really balanced this year. Anybody can beat anybody on a given night. We’;re looking forward to playing Maynard on Wednesday.”

Barton visits Belmont County rival Maynard on Wednesday, while Martins Ferry heads to Moundsville.

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