A three-run double by Eric Henderson in the sixth inning, followed by another by pinch-hitter Baltazar Juarez in the seventh, broke open a tight non-region battle with Alpharetta on Saturday morning, and the Blue Devils won 8-1 at Turner Field.
The game was the first of four on the Atlanta Braves’ home field, and first pitch was at 10 a.m.
Marietta (15-5) plated two runs in the first five innings and was ahead by a run going into the sixth, but it could have scored many more. The Blue Devils stranded 10 runners in the first five innings, leaving the bases loaded in the second and third.
“We usually take care of business early, but we’re coming off spring break,” said assistant coach Gil Navarro, who filled in after head coach Chris Stafford left the game with an illness. “After the first couple of innings, we finally woke up and realized that we were playing at Turner Field.”
Henderson, who was
2-for-5 on the day with four RBIs, wasn’t going to allow Marietta to squander another bases-loaded opportunity in the sixth. With one out in the inning, Bradley Piggee got on with a single, Travis Wildermuth walked and Jordan Mathis was hit by a pitch.
Henderson didn’t waste any time. He took the first pitch deep into the left-field corner, allowing the Blue Devils to score three runs and swell their lead to 5-1.
“I’ve been struggling a little bit (at the plate), and being at Turner Field, it was a hit that I’ll remember for a long time,” Henderson said. “Not many people get to experience that, and I’m grateful that I got it.”
Juarez, who pinch-hit for Jordan Mathis in the seventh, was also facing a bases-loaded situation with one out. Like Henderson, he took the first pitch deep into left field to bring everyone home.
Henderson pitched the first three innings for Marietta, Evan Steele threw the next three and Trent Wildermuth pitched the seventh. They combined for one run, on four hits, two walks and five strikeouts.
Marietta got on the board first in the top of the third inning when Henderson singled home courtesy runner T.J Bulock. Alpharetta (9-10) tied it in the bottom half of the inning on an infield dribbler by Chris Lung before Marietta claimed the lead in the top of the fourth on an RBI hit by Piggee.
Travis Wildermuth reached base on all five of his plate appearances with two hits and three walks. Piggee was 3-for-5, Trent Wildermuth was 2-for-3 and Marcus Mitchell walked on three of his four plate appearances.