Good pitching can carry a high school baseball team a long way.
Having four starters go seven innings in their spring debuts is almost unheard of.
It happened in Martins Ferry Friday afternoon as Jonathan Carlier became the fourth Purple Rider to go the distance on the mound in a 9-1 triumph over Buckeye Local in Buckeye 8 action.
MARTINS FERRY pitcher Jonathan Carlier works to the plate Friday afternoon.
The hard-throwing senior struck out four and issued two free passes while spacing out five hits.
"We're 4-for-4," Martins Ferry head coach Anthony Reasbeck said of his staff. "Our first four pitchers have come out and given us seven strong innings. Like I said the other day, when your pitchers give you seven innings, you should win every game. We should be 4-0 right now instead of 2-2."
Reasbeck was also pleased with his defense, something that was lacking in the two setbacks. The Purple Gang turned a pair of slick fielding twin killings that ended the third and fifth innings.
"When you make some of the mistakes in the field that we do, the double play has been our scapegoat," he continued. "We have to lead the (Ohio) Valley in double plays. I don't know whether that's a good thing or a bad thing.
"I'm just happy tonight that a few bats showed up. That's one thing we've been lacking in the first week, so that was nice to see."
The hosts took advantage of a Buckeye local fielding error to plate three runs in the first inning. Carlier's RBI groundout in the second made it 4-0.
Wildness hurt the Panthers in the third inning as starting pitcher Eric Williams couldn't find the plate after retiring the first batter. He walked five straight Purple Riders as the lead ballooned to 7-0 with the benefit of a base hit.
"We walked a lot of guys today, I'll tell you that. That's how they scored most of their runs," said Buckeye Local first-year head coach C.J. Besece. "We tell our pitchers to make them earn their way on base. We've thrown way too many walks in four games. Way too many."
Andrew Chlon led the Purple Riders' 10-hit attack with a trio of singles. Tyler Donahue and Michael Oberdick evenly divided four singles, with Oberdick recording an RBI. Joe Myers ripped a 2-run single and Michael Neavin also knocked in a pair of teammates. Seth Scott also drove in a run.
Austin Marshall had three of Buckeye Local's five singles. Corey Slaga recorded the lone RBI with a fourth-inning sacrifice fly.
Both teams will load up the buses today for trips up Ohio 7 north. Buckeye Local will head to Toronto for a 11 a.m. doubleheader, while Martins Ferry goes to Weir for a noon twinbill.
Buck. 000 100 0 - 1 5 3
Ferry 313 200 x - 9 10 1
Batteries: Williams, Ostovich (3) and Slaga. Carlier and Donahue.