Blue Devils triumph in rivalry game
by Carlton D. White
April 06, 2013 12:15 AM | 2588 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Bolstered by the offense and defense behind him, Eric Henderson pitched a shutout to lead Marietta past McEachern and into a share of the region lead.
<Br>Staff photo by Kelly J. Huff
Bolstered by the offense and defense behind him, Eric Henderson pitched a shutout to lead Marietta past McEachern and into a share of the region lead.
Staff photo by Kelly J. Huff
POWDER SPRINGS — Behind the pitching of Eric Henderson, the bat of Travis Wildermuth and the gloves of the outfield, Marietta jumped on top with five runs in the first two innings, en route to a 6-0 win Friday at McEachern.

Henderson gave up four hits, two walks and struck out eight in a complete-game performance that gave the Blue Devils (14-4, 8-2 Region 4AAAAAA) a split of their season series with the Indians (16-4, 10-2) and pushed Marietta into a virtual tie with McEachern atop the region standings.

The Blue Devils got revenge for the Indians’ 4-3 win Wednesday at Marietta.

“Wednesday’s game really motivated me,” Henderson said. “To win region, we had to win this game, so I just came out confident. It’s a big win, and we feel like McEachern is a cross-town rival. There’s always a battle going on about who the real ‘MHS’ is, and we proved it was us (Friday).”

Marietta scored three runs off three hits and two walks in the first inning. It then produced in the second, behind Wildermuth’s two-run home run with two outs and two strikes on the board.

Wildermuth, who struggled in Wednesday’s game, went 2-for-3 with three RBIs and a walk Friday.

McEachern pitcher Bruce Kirkpatrick took the loss after giving up six runs — five earned — off seven hits while striking out four and walking six over five innings of work.

“I’ve faced Kirkpatrick before,” Wildermuth said. “We’ve been facing each other since we were 12 years old, so I’m familiar with him and just got going (Friday). Every time I step out onto the field, I’m expecting big results from myself. Wednesday may not have been my night, but (Friday) was.”

Kirkpatrick managed to settle down after the first two innings. He gave up one hit and walked two over the next three frames before allowing back-to-back singles to Myles Wilson and Bradley Piggee to lead off the sixth.

The damage, however, had already been done.

Eight batters came to the plate for Marietta in the first inning.

Wildermuth’s RBI single plated Wilson for the first run, and Henderson walked to put runners on the corners with two outs. Back-to-back singles from Trent Wildermuth and Marcus Mitchell allowed courtesy runner Will Crowe — in for Travis Wildermuth — to score with Henderson, giving Marietta the 3-0 lead.

Erik Mattsen led off the second with a walk. After back-to-back groundouts, Travis Wildermuth hit his home run over the left-field wall for the 5-0 advantage.

The Blue Devils’ final run came in the sixth, when reliever Darrell Render was called for a balk that allowed Wilson to score.

Piggee also had two hits, as did Travis Wildermuth.

“I think there was some momentum for us going into (Friday), but it wasn’t based on Wednesday’s comeback,” Marietta coach Chris Stafford said. “It was because we have second- and third-generation Blue Devils players who united the young guys in a team meeting after practice (Thursday) night.

“They told them about this rivalry and it got the kids to respond. We had some clutch at-bats to extend innings, which was key, and Henderson did a great job on the mound. When you have a guy finishing games and putting up zeros, that’s a great thing to have.”

Henderson also got plenty of help from his outfield — Wilson, Piggee, Trent Wildermuth and reserve Will Crowe. They ran down deep and shallow fly balls and made catches at the wall to help keep McEachern off the basepaths.

“I’m going to have to take those guys out to dinner one day,” Henderson quipped. “This was one of the biggest games in my baseball career. I always want to beat McEachern, and I wasn’t going to let anyone take the ball from me in those late innings.”

Aaron Morris, Sam Stephens, Dalton Geekie and T.J. Clark had hits for McEachern.

“(Marietta) is a good baseball team,” McEachern coach Dan Torrenti said. “They made more plays and pitches (Friday), and plays in the outfield, than we did. Just because we beat them Wednesday didn’t mean it wasn’t going to be a battle (Friday).”
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