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Hornets keep title hopes alive

Coal Grove Hornets’ Dylan Malone (8) connects for a hit during Thursday’s Ohio Valley Conference game. The Hornets kept their OVC title hopes alive with a 5-2 win over Ironton. (Tim Gearhart of Tim’s News & Novelties, Park Ave. in Ironton)

Coal Grove Hornets’ Dylan Malone (8) connects for a hit during Thursday’s Ohio Valley Conference game. The Hornets kept their OVC title hopes alive with a 5-2 win over Ironton. (Tim Gearhart of Tim’s News & Novelties, Park Ave. in Ironton)

Jim Walker

jim.walker@irontontribune.com

 

There would be no monkey wrench this time.

Ironton threw a monkey wrench into Coal Grove’s Ohio Valley Conference title hopes a couple of weeks ago with a 5-4 win.

But the Hornets would have none of it on Thursday in the rematch as they beat the Fighting Tigers 5-2.

Jacob Pierce pitched a six-hitter, struck out and walked six to get the win for the Hornets.

“Pierce threw well and we played pretty well,” said Hornets’ coach Dean Mader. “It keeps us alive and that’s the big thing.”

Coal Grove is now 12-5 overall and 8-2 in the league. The Hornets host Fairland in a must-win game on Friday and entertain Chesapeake on Tuesday needing a win to gain a share of the title with the Panthers.

Coal Grove snapped the scoreless tie with two runs in the second inning.

With two outs, Jeb Jones walked, Isaiah Gunther and Jacob Clark singled to load the bases and Daniel Rutherford singled for two runs.

Ironton (10-10, 5-7) got a run back in the bottom of the inning on a walk to Hunter Weber, Andy Bruce’s sacrifice and Tanner Price’s RBI double.

The Hornets answered with a run in the third again with two outs.

Dylan Malone and Chase McKnight singled and an outfield error allowed the run to score.

“We are giving up too many easy runs. We have to learn to finish an inning on defense and get the clutch hit on offense,” said Ironton coach Larry Goodwin.

Coal Grove extended the lead to 5-1 in the fifth.

Pierce reached second on an error, Malone walked and Pierce went to third on a passed ball. McKnight grounded out as the run scored and Malone went to second.

Jones singled, Gunther walked and a wild pitch scored the run.

The Fighting Tigers scored in the sixth.

Bruce singled and Larry Morris walked and they pulled off a double steal. Luke Diamond then singled home Bruce.

Ironton threatened in the seventh when Hunter Klaiber reached on an error but was left stranded.

Rutherford was 3-4 as he collected a third of Coal Grove’s hits.

Garrett Carrico pitched five strong innings for Ironton. He struck out two, walked three and only two of the five runs he allowed were earned.

Diamond went 3-for-3 to lead the offense.

Coal Grove 021 020 0 = 5 9 2

Ironton 010 001 0 = 2 6 4

Jacob Pierce and Jesse Rigsby. Garrett Carrico, Larry Morris (6) and Hunter Weber. W-Pierce (K-8, BB-6, ER-2). L-Carrico (IP-5, K-2, BB-3, H-8, R-5, ER-2). Morris (IP-2, K-1, BB-1, H-1). Hitting—CG: Jacob Clark 1-4, Daniel Rutherford 3-4 rbi-2, Sean Paulus 1-4, Dylan Malone 1-2, Chase McKnight 1-4, Jeb Jones 1-3, Isaiah Gunther 1-2; Ironton: Luke Diamond 3-3, Andy Bruce 1-3, Kyle Kleinman 1-2, Tanner Price 1-3 2B rbi. LOB-Coal Grove 9, Ironton 11.