• 86°

Hornets use walk-off walk in 8th to edge Ironton 4-3

Coal Grove Hornets’ Jeb Jones (5) slides around Ironton Fighting Tigers’ catcher Brycen Thomas to score a run in Friday’s Ohio Valley Conference game. Coal Grove won 4-3 in eight innings on a bases-loaded walk. (Tim Gearhart of Tim’s News & Novelties, Park Ave. in Ironton)

Jim Walker

COAL GROVE — This is getting to be a regular occurrence.
The Coal Grove Hornets and Ironton Fighting Tigers continue to play tight games.
The teams split two tight games last season and Ironton won 8-7 in the first meeting this year.
The Hornets returned the favor as they used a bases-loaded walk for a 4-3 Ohio Valley Conference win in eight innings on Friday in a battle for first place.
Daniel Rutherford went 6-2, innings before Chase McKnight finished up. Rutherford gave up four hits, struck out 10 and walked seven.
Ironton’s Dane Wilson allowed four hits in seven innings, struck out 10 and walked four.
“It was a great game. Daniel threw really well for us. He had his best breaking ball he’s had this year. It was a good team win. Darin Bloomfield had some clutch at-bats,” said Hornets’ coach Dean Mader.
“The Wilson kid threw a great game for Ironton. He’s the best we’ve faced.”
Neither starting pitcher was involved in the decision. Chase McKnight got the win in relief and Larry Morris took the loss.
Coal Grove is now 10-3 and 7-2 in the OVC. Ironton is 9-4-1 and 6-3-1.
After Ironton went out in order in the top of the eighth, the Hornets
Bloomfield and Jordan Case singled to right. Nate Harmon hit into a force play at third but Evan Friend and Chase McKnight both walked to force in the winning run.
Ironton took a 1-0 lead in the first inning when Garrett Carrico and Gage Salyers walked and Kyle Kleinman had an RBI single.
The lead went to 2-0 in the top of the fourth when Salyers hit a triple and scored on a throwing error on the play.
Coal Grove answered with a run in the bottom of the inning.
Jeb Jones reached second on an error, went to third on a fly out and scored when Bloomfield grounded out.
The Hornets tied the game in the sixth when Rutherford walked, stole second and came home when Bloomfield hit a two-out double.
Ironton (9-4-1, 6-3-1) got a run in the top of the seventh with two outs.
Brycen Thomas walked and moved up on a wild pitch and balk and scored on a wild pitch.
Coal Grove rallied to tie the game in the bottom of the inning.
Harmon walked, Friend hit into a force out and McKnight was safe on an error. With runners at second and third, Jacob Clark hit a ground ball and Friend beat the throw home.
On Monday, Ironton visits Chesapeake and Coal Grove is at Gallipolis.
Ironton       100    100    10    =    3    4    4
Coal Grove    000    101    11    =    4    5    2
Dane Wilson, Larry Morris (8) and Brycen Thomas. Daniel Rutherford, Chase McKnight (7) and Jeb Jones. W-McKnight (IP-1.1, K-3). Rutherford (IP-6.2, K-10, BB-7). L-Morris (IP-0.1, BB-3). Wilson (IP-7.0, K-10, BB-4). Hitting-Ironton: Garrett Carrico 1-3, Gage Salyers 2-3 3B, Kyle Kleinman 1-3 RBI; CG: Chase McKnight 1-4 RBI, Jacob Clark RBI, Jeb Jones 1-4, Darin Bloomfield 1-3 2B 2-RBI, Jordan Case 1-4, Evan Friend 1-3.