Give the Marathon baseball team an extra opportunity, and more often than not, it will cost you.
That was the case Tuesday, as the Raiders capitalized on a dropped third strike to extend the third inning and scored three runs on the way to a 5-3 win over Pittsville on Tuesday.
“They’re a smart ballclub, and that’s what we’ve got to be, too,” Pittsville second baseman Brad Wesely said. “We are a smart ballclub, but we just have to keep stepping up to get better for the playoffs.
“We didn’t play our best ball today. We’re a lot better team than that. We just have to pick it up and play a lot better game than that. We know we can.”
The Raiders defeated Pittsville in a Marawood Conference South Division matchup earlier in the season, but this was considered a non-conference game. The Marawood South has cut its 14-game conference schedule in half because of the inclement weather this spring.
“At this point of the year, a non-conference game is designed to help you prepare for the playoffs and what’s to come in the future,” Marathon coach Steve Warren said. “You can learn from your mistakes, you’re going to make some. But this was a fairly well-played high school baseball game by two competitive teams. Mistakes are going to happen, but there also was timely hitting by both teams. I think both teams can get something out of it.”
Jake Dinke earned the win for Marathon, while Landen Williamson allowed one hit in 21⁄3 innings of relief to earn the save.
The Raiders (14-3) took control of the game with a four-run third. Pittsville looked like it would get out of the inning with surrendering just one run, but a potentially inning-ending third strike got past catcher Paul Downs.
Nathan Martin scored from third on the play as Isaac Barber reached first, and Matt Braun followed with a two-run single to right centerfield.
“I got down two strikes and coach just told me to battle,” Braun said. “We were taught just drive (the ball) into right field.”
The Panthers closed to within 4-3 with a manufactured run in the fifth. Nathan Dupee walked and went to third on a two-base error as Dinkel was wild on an attempt to pick him off. He then scored from third after a third strike got past Martin and he threw to first for the out.
Marathon’s Brooks Repking gave the Raiders a two-run lead with a RBI double down the right field line. Pinch-runner Ben Martin then was thrown out at home to end the inning, trying to score on a single by Braun.
Martin threw out two Pittsville runners trying to steal second in both the fifth and sixth innings, and Aidan Masanz was thrown out trying to go from first to third on a single in the fourth.
“Pittsville puts a lot of offensive pressure on a defense, because they run very well and they run all the time,” Warren said. “You can prepare for that, but you still have to stop them. And they will run until you stop them. That’s their game.”
Dinkel set the first four Panthers down in order before Adam Sturgis walked. That was followed by three straight hits as Pittsville took a 2-0 lead in the second.
The Panthers drew seven walks in the game managed just two hits after the second inning.
“Hitting-wise, we just weren’t finding the ball later on, and in the field we had a couple errors,” Wesely said. “That’s just what we have to clean up.”
WP-Jake Dinkel. LP-Nathan Dupee. SV-Landen Williamson. 2B-M, Brooks Repking.
Records: Marathon 14-3, Pittsville 10-3