Marysville’s Garrett North slides safely into third base as Graham’s infielder turns to watch the ball sail away Friday evening. The Monarchs beat the Falcons, 14-4, in the opening game of the Monarch Classic.
(Journal-Tribune photo by Sam Dillon)
The Marysville Elite 17U baseball team overcame a slow start and finished Friday evening’s first game of the Monarch Classic with a 14-4 run-rule victory over Graham.
“It was nice to see our bats come around late in the game,” said coach Corey Gould.
The contest was tied at 2-2 after the first inning.
The Falcons later held a 3-2 edge when the Monarchs came to the plate in the home half of the fourth.
Up until that time, Marysville had not shown a great deal of offensive punch during key at-bats against Graham starting pitcher Logan Black.
The Monarchs plated their first two runs on a two-out RBI double from Garrett North and a base hit by Blake Storr.
During that time, however, they also stranded four runners on base.
Graham’s first two runs came off Marysville starting pitcher Gavin Sharp.
Jim Stickley and Lane Smith began the top of the first with back-to-back singles.
They both scored when Josh Lewis lined an 0-2 pitch for a base hit.
The Falcons regained the lead at 3-2 with a single run in the fourth after a pair of walks, a wild pitch and a Monarch fielding miscue.
Chase Kilgore led off the bottom of the fourth with a double before Black was able to coax a line drive to the infield that resulted in a 6-4 double play.
That’s when the Monarchs’ bats started to come alive.
With the bases empty, Kaleb Schultz singled and was followed by Tate Virts, who was plunked by a pitch.
Jacob Wright singled in the run that tied the contest at 3-3.
North struck out, but reached base on a passed ball.
A fielding miscue and two more passed balls or wild pitches allowed the Monarchs to score three additional times and take a 6-3 advantage.
Graham got a run back when it loaded the bases with one down on consecutive base hits and a hit batsman in the fifth.
Sharp fanned a batter, but yielded a walk that pulled the Falcons to within 6-4 and still left the sacks juiced.
The Monarch pitcher escaped further trouble when he got a breaking ball over for an inning-ending punchout.
Black appeared to tire in the bottom of the fifth when the Monarchs scored two more times.
Tyler Drope led off with a single. After a popout, Michael Bonczak reached on an error.
He and Drope advanced a base on a wild pitch and both scored on Virts’ base hit.
At that point, the Falcons made a pitching change. They brought in southpaw Todd Crawford, who induced a grounder to end the inning.
Storr came on in relief of Sharp to begin the sixth and wasted little time in sending the Falcons back to the dugout. A bouncing ball to the infield was sandwiched between two strikeouts to put the visitors down in order.
Graham made its second pitching change of the day, going back to the right side with Stickley when Crawford ran into trouble during the bottom of the sixth.
North led off with a single and Crawford issued free passes to Quentin Miller and Storr to fill the bases.
Drope’s sacrifice fly gave the Monarchs a 9-4 lead before the switch was made to Stickley.
The new pitcher promptly hit Kilgore to once again load the bases.
Stickley put a strikeout in the books, but four more runs scored on a single from Schultz and a triple by Virts.
At that point, the Monarchs were just one tally away from invoking the run rule.
Wright ended the game early with a base hit that brought Virts in with that final run.
Marysville pounded the trio of Falcon hurlers for 13 base hits.
Graham managed just five hits during Sharp’s five-inning stint on the bump.
“For the most part, Gavin pitched well and Blake came in and threw strikes,” said Gould.
The Monarchs were scheduled to resume the tournament today at 10 a.m. with a game against Archbold.
They will finish the tourney with a 5:30 p.m. contest against Vandalia-Butler.
Graham 200 110-4 5 4
Marysville 200 426-14 13 3
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