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Clutching Up

Anthony Harper was the last man standing.

Ironton’s No. 9 batter, Harper came to bat with two outs and a runner at second base in the bottom of the seventh inning with the score tied.

Harper proved to be the last batter of the game as he singled to drive in Howie Lucas and give the Ironton Fighting Tigers a thrilling 3-2 win over the Coal Grove Hornets Wednesday.

“That was a clutch hit,” said Ironton coach Tobey Schreck. “It’s nice to finally have our own field and getting to have the last bat.”

The hit by Harper spoiled the coaching debut of Coal Grove’s Dean Mader. Despite the loss, Mader was encouraged.

“We had our chances,” said Mader. “We played pretty well and so did they. Wayne (Sparks) pitched well, especially for this early in the season.”

Coal Grove (0-1) took a 1-0 lead win the second inning on singles by Frank Delawder and Jared Eldridge and a ground out.

Ironton (2-0) tied the game with a run in the third inning when Harper was hit by a pitch and came around to score on Ethan Preston’s base hit.

The Hornets took a 2-1 lead in the fourth inning when Sparks singled, stole second and scored on Delawder’s double.

Eldridge followed with a base hit but Delawder was thrown out on a close play at home.

The Fighting Tigers tied the game again with a run in the fifth inning on a double by Chris Warner and a base hit by Howie Lucas.

Lucas scored the winning run in the bottom of the seventh inning. He doubled with two outs and scored on Harper’s base hit.

Josh Pancake turned in a complete game to get the win for Ironton. He struck out eight, allowed six hits and did not walk a batter.

Sparks was solid as well. He struck out four, walked one, hit a batter and gave up seven hits.

Coal Grove 010 100 0 = 2 6 2

Ironton 001 010 1 = 3 7 0

Wayne Sparks and Jake Murphy. Josh Pancake and Darren Dalton. W-Pancake (8-K, 0-BB). L-Sparks (4K, 1-BB, 1-HBP). 2B-CG: Frank Delawder; Ironton: Chris Warner, Howie Lucas. Hitting-Coal Grove: Oakie Haynes 1-3, Wayne Sparks 1-3, Frank Delawder 2-3, Jared Elridge 2-3; Ironton: Ethan Preston 1-2, Keith Wetzel 1-3, Jonathan Williams 1-3, Chris Warner 1-3, Howie Lucas 2-3, Anthony Harper 1-2.