MARIETTA – Marietta College used a nine run bottom initially to help skipper Brian Brewer’s club re -emerge as Ohio Athletic Conference baseball champions after a 16-6 win on Saturday afternoon against Baldwin Wallace at Pioneer Park.
The Yellow Jackets (32-11), who are hoping to secure a big spot in the NCAA Division III tournament, took the lead after scoring a run against Brett Carson. The MC’s lefty, who worked 4 1-3 innings but didn’t participate in the decision, walked into leadoff man Vincent Capolupo and he scored on Drew Wilson’s sacrificial fly.
Baldwin Wallace needed three pitchers to get through first, seeing a dozen Pioneers hit and collect nine hits. Turner Hill started it off with an opposite-field leadoff double and OAC MVP Damian Yenzi followed with a rocketed shot from missing pitcher Aidan Bennett. Zach Boyd’s bunt single loaded the bases for cleanup hitter Logan Vietmeier and the catcher delivered a run-scoring single to the right to start the attack. Drew Holberbach reached for a fielder selected RBI and was followed by Carson with an RBI single to the right. Scott Kirchhoff was able to retire at Trent Castle after an RBI squeeze, but he was promoted after allowing consecutive RBI singles to Alex Richter and Drew Wilkinson and issuing a free pass to Hill. Yenzi, who joined Boyd and Richter with three hits, welcomed Matt Sabin to the bump with a two-run single to right. After stealing the second, Yenzi crossed for a 9-1 advantage thanks to Boyd’s single backing up the box.
“We always lose for a big inning,” admitted Yenzi. “We’ve been doing it all year and we’re excited to be able to do it in a game like this. That was our whole game plan. Get off to a good start, get a big lead and we’re trying to get it out of there.
The third baseman added that being tabbed as MVP “is an honor, especially with all the guys who got it before me. It’s just an honor to have my name there.
“It’s all for my boys there. It’s just a stepping stone to where we want to be. I’m just glad I can do everything to help the team win.
Holberbach doubled the fence on the left to open the second and scored Castle’s one-hopper from the wall to make it 10-1.
MC (38-5) added three more in the third to add a dozen. Yenzi and Boyd have back-to-back singles and Vietmeier sacrifices. That led to a Holderbach sac fly RBI, followed by a Carson RBI with three baggers and a Castle RBI single on the left.
Carson was chased in the fifth after allowing four runs. Ryan Guggenheim led with a single and Andrew Parker doubled. A sac fly by Sean Kolenich followed and after walking to Cooper Harestad, Capolupo delivered a run-scoring single to center. The Pioneers turned to Kail Hill, who allowed a pair of inherited runners to score two run doubles by Luke Vonderhaar, but the righty went into the final 4 2-3 innings to take the win. He allowed five hits, one earned run, didn’t walk and had two punchouts.
“Kail is fine,” said coach Brewer. “The last week and a half to two weeks he has had a really good time. He didn’t have a lot of opportunities in the game, but he threw very well in the game and he threw very well with his side work and our scrimmages. I was glad to see him come out and pass like he did.
The hosts ran back in the fifth when Castle walked away and then scored a double home theft with Richter. The Pioneers made it 16-5 after adding two more runs in the sixth. Hill and Yenzi both walked and scored thanks to RBI hits by Vietmeier and Holderbach.
“Despite the fact that we stopped that run at the top at first, I think we really put a good mark and were quick to respond, which is obviously important all the time but especially in big games like this,” added Brewer, who watched the Jackets score once in the ninth when Capolupo tripled Harestad. “I think we have a good offensive approach and it’s a good response.
“We’re obviously going to take the time to enjoy it then we’ll know what’s next. It’s a real credit to the kids. There’s a lot of expectations here, right, if you come to play baseball and we’re sure we won’t want to forget about it because we have a lot to do here, but there are a lot of places that never really work.Super excited, very talented group.Just such a wonderful group of young men and family that I am glad they are in my side. ”
Joining Yenzi on the all-OAC tournament team are Hill, who has his 29th stolen base, Boyd, Wilkinson and Carson as well as BW’s Vonderhaar, Guggenheim, Capolupo and pitcher Dawson Gabe. Mount Union was represented by Andrew Witte, Walker Marlowe and Dwayne Sumler. Luke Barber and Zach Franz were selected from Otterbein.
Marietta College will find out about the upcoming postseason on Monday afternoon.
Contact Jay Bennett at [email protected]