Tigers triumph: Robinson, Hefter lead MHS past Claymont, 3-2

Marietta scored three runs in the top of the seventh inning and right-handed pitcher Zach Robinson hurled a complete-game gem as the Tigers picked up a 3-2 East Central Ohio League victory over Claymont Wednesday at Legion Field.

The Tigers were scheduled to be on the road but, due to bad field conditions at Claymont’s home field, the Mustangs traveled to Marietta. Claymont represented the home team with the Tigers playing as the visiting team.

Robinson and Claymont pitcher Hunter Striker exchanged zeros on the scoreboard for the first six innings of the game before both teams’ bats finally came alive in the closing frame.

Marietta batted first in the seventh with Isaac Danford connecting on a 1-out single to center field to get things started. Cleanup hitter Austin Hefter followed by lining a double over the left fielder’s head to bring Danford all the way around from first to score the game’s first run.

Adam McKnight then grounded a ball to the left side that was misplayed, putting runners at the corners. When McKnight attempted to steal second base, Hefter broke for home on the catcher’s throw and crossed the plate safely to make it 2-0. McKnight would later score when Michael Ullman’s flyball to right field was dropped, giving the Tigers a 3-0 advantage with one half-inning remaining.

Claymont made it interesting. With runners on second and third with two outs, Tanner Shetner blooped a single into no-man’s land in center to plate both runners and cut the lead to one. Robinson shook it off and struck out the next batter to end the comeback attempt and give Marietta the win.

“I felt really good,” said Robinson, who punched out 11 batters and did not issue a walk. “The strikeout was really there. I felt like I was hitting it well. The curveball was working.

“Run support is always helpful.”

Robinson allowed just three hits in the game and improved to 2-1 on the mound this spring.

“Zach was really in charge from the first inning on,” said Marietta head coach Jim Thrash.

“It was a well-pitched game by both kids.”

Striker also went the distance for the Mustangs. He struck out five and walked one in the losing effort.

Hefter had the only multi-hit performance in the game, going 2-for-3 with a run scored and a run driven in, and also had the only extra-base hit of the game with his double in the seventh.

“Auggie (Hefter) has been hitting the ball well these last few games,” Thrash noted.

The win upped Marietta’s record to 4-5 overall. The Tigers are now 2-1 in the ECOL.

It was a much-needed win for MHS, which has dropped some close games of late. “We won a 1-run game,” Thrash said. “Very pleased with the effort tonight.”

Marietta will travel to Columbus this weekend, where it will play a game against Fairfield Union Friday followed by a twinbill versus Berne Union Saturday.