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Hornets turn back Senators

COAL GROVE — The beat goes on, and so does the Coal Grove Hornets’ season.

Coal Grove posted its seventh straight win by beating the Portsmouth West Senators 5-3 Tuesday and thus advanced to the Div. III sectional finals.

“It was a good team win. Everybody contributed. That’s the way it’s been for us and that’s what’s kept us winning,” said Hornets’ coach Dean Mader.

Coal Grove (12-9) will play in the sectional title game at 11 a.m. Friday at Wheelersburg. The early start is due to the Pirates’ prom.

Wayne Sparks pitched a seven-hitter for the Hornets to get the win. He struck out 13 and did not walk a batter.

“Wayne threw well. He threw strikes and kept them out of big innings,” said Mader.

Sparks also swung a key bat for the Hornets. He went 2-3 with a two-run homer.

The game was scoreless until West got a run in the third inning. Adam Bricker doubled with two outs, Mark Murphy beat out an infield hit and Anthony Knittel had an RBI single.

The Hornets took a 2-1 lead in the fourth inning.

Sparks singled, stole second and scored on a hit by Jared Eldridge. Justin Hern grounded out as Eldridge moved up and Evan Ferguson delivered an RBI single.

Murphy had a two-out home run in the fifth to tie the game, but the Hornets answered with three runs in the bottom of the inning.

Oakie Haynes walked, stole second and third, and scored when the throw to third base was kicked away.

Jake Murphy then walked and Sparks unloaded a two-run homer to center.

The Senators got a run in the sixth on a two-out double by John Allen and a hit by Daulton Kenyon.

Ferguson and Eldridge both went 2-3 as Coal Grove had six hits.

Mark Murphy and Knittel were 2-3 for Portsmouth West (9-13).

“This was a nice win for program. West has played some good teams. They lost twice to Wheelersburg, twice to Valley and three times to Portsmouth, so that’s seven of their losses,” said Mader.

Ports. West 001 011 0 = 3 7 0

Coal Grove 000 230 x = 5 6 3

Mark Murphy, Anthony Knittel (5) and Kyle Auger. Wayne Sparks and Jake Murphy. W-Sparks (13-K, 0-BB). L-M.Murphy (4-K, 0-BB,1-BB). Knittel 4-K, 2-BB. 2B-West: John Allen, Adam Bricker. HR-West: Mark Murphy; Coal Grove: Wayne Sparks. Hitting-West: Adam Bricker 1-4, Mark Murphy 2-3, Anthony Knittel 2-3, John Allen 1-3, Daulton Kenyon 1-3; Coal Grove: Wayne Sparks 2-3 2-rbi, Jared Eldridge 2-3 rbi, Evan Ferguson 2-3 rbi.