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Hornets battle back in 7th inning to edge Panthers

Jim Walker
jim.walker@irontontribune.com

COAL GROVE — Like a bantamweight fighter, you can’t let your guard down against the Coal Grove Hornets.
Several times this season the Hornets have found themselves trailing late in the game and battled back to win.
The Hornets did it again on Wednesday with three runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to beat the Chesapeake Panthers 10-9 in an Ohio Valley Conference game.
“We’ve had some losses, but this bunch just keeps on battling. They won’t quit,” said Hornets’ coach Blair Demetroulos. “Nate Harmon just torched the ball tonight. Everything he hit was on a rope.”
The Panthers went up 2-0 in the first inning.
Trent Dearth bunted for a hit, moved up on a passed ball, took third on a wild pitch, Austin Browning walked and stole second and both runners scored on an error.
The Hornets came right back to tie the game in the bottom of the inning on a two-run homer by Harmon after Christian Workman was safe on an error.
Chesapeake took a 4-2 lead in the top of the third.
Dearth singled, stole second and third, Browning walked and Jonah Ridenour singled them home.
Coal Grove answered with three runs in the bottom the inning.
Workman led off with a triple and Ben Compliment singled him home. Kyle Sites singled and both moved up on a wild pitch. Harmon hit a deep fly ball for a sacrifice fly.
Sites moved up on a ground out and scored on Xander Keaton’s sacrifice fly.
The Hornets added a run in the fourth.
Evan Gannon walked, Workman was hit by a pitch and Compliment singled. Compliment got in a rundown and Gannon scored before the final out.
Coal Grove made it 7-4 in the fifth when Sites singled, stole second and Harmon doubled him home.
Chesapeake then came to life with a five-run rally in the top of the seventh.
Hayden Blankenship was hit by a pitch, Levi Best walked, Dearth bunted into a force out at third but Thomas Sentz singled for a run. Browning and Travis Grim walked to force in a run and Ridenour singled home two runs and it was 9-7.
But the Hornets rallied for three runs in the bottom of the inning.
Harmon reached on a throwing error, Matney walked and Keaton singled in Harmon.
Both runners moved up on the throw to home.
Malachi Wheeler then belted a double down the right field line as both runners scored to end the game.
“Malachi had his second walk-off hit and he really pitched a really nice game up until the seventh. He’s just a freshman,” said Demetroulos.
Harmon was 2-3 with three RBI while Compliment, Sites and Keaton were all 2-4.
Ridenour and Dearth went 2-4 to pace the Panthers.
Chesapeake 202 000 5 = 9 5 4
Coal Grove 203 110 3 = 10 11 3
A.J. Littreal, Trent Dearth (4) and Jonah Ridenour. Malachi Wheeler, Tait Matney (7) and Ben Compliment. W-Matney (IP-0.2, H-1, R-1, ER-1, K-0, BB-1). Wheeler (IP-6.1, H-4, R-8, ER-7, K-2, BB-4). L-Dearth. Hitting-Chesy: Trent Dearth 2-4, Thomas Sentz 1-4, Jonah Ridenour 2-4; CG: Christian Workman 1-3 3B, Ben Compliment 2-4, Kyle Sites 2-4, Nate Harmon 2-3 HR 3-rbi, Xander Keaton 2-4, Malachi Wheeler 1-4 2B rbi, Cory Borders 1-3 2B.