Copperheads start series against Mariners with 7-2 win
Date: Jun 18, 2019
by Sarah Newgarde
ATHENS, Ohio – Despite the dreary weather, the Southern Ohio Copperheads came back from a 5-2 deficit against the Saginaw Sugar Beets to win the game 8-6 in a stellar display of small ball and perseverance.
The Copperheads started off strong with back-to-back-to-back strikeouts in the top of the first for left-handed pitcher Wesley Pyles. But the Sugar Beets struck first in the top of the second when outfielder Sean Fannon hit a three run homerun. The Copperheads regained control, closing out the inning with a double play. Blaine Crim led off the bottom of the inning with a double, but the Sugar Beet’s Eric Fritz struck two batters, keeping the score at 3-0.
In the top of the third, shortstop Cooper Marshall hit a solo homerun over the right field fence, advancing the Sugar Beets’ lead to 4-0. The Beets secured another run off of a sacrifice fly to left field before the end of the inning.
The Copperheads put their first run of the game on the board when Thomas Zazzaro scored from second base off of a single produced by Mason Nadeau. Crim snagged an RBI with bases loaded, bringing the score to 5-2.
After a stagnant fourth inning for both teams, the Copperheads opted for a pitching change and brought in Kyle Wisniewski. Wisniewski retired the first three batters, but the positive momentum didn’t carry far and the bottom of the fifth became another scoreless inning for the Copperheads.
“The bottom line is he came and he threw strikes,” said head coach Phil Butler. “He showed the ability to come back in some counts, which is good for us.”
A short rain delay stopped play briefly in the top of the sixth, but the Copperheads came back strong. After retiring both Sugar Beet batters post-rain delay, they quickly loaded the bases with one out. Nadeau drew a walk, scoring Bobby Johnson and the Sugar Beets to bring in a new pitcher, Jack Tagget. Tagget promptly walked Ty Suntken on four pitches, forcing in the Copperheads’ fourth run. Ray Zuberer walked, allowing the tying run to score, quickly followed by the winning run on a past ball. After Crim’s RBI double, the Copperheads led 8-5 and the Sugar Beets brought in Ethan Whitcomb to close the game.
The Sugar Beets scored one run off of an infield single in the top of the seventh, but the Copperheads quickly retaliated by faking-out Sugar Beets’ base runner Adam Proctor, preventing him from stealing home.
Gus Cunningham came in the pitch in the top of the eighth for the Copperheads and retired three Sugar Beets hitters. To close, Joel Hake took the bump for the Copperheads in the ninth. He faced four batters, struck out one and held the Sugar Beets at six runs to bring home the Copperheads’ 8-6 win.
“I think two nights of being down five runs early is tough,” said Butler. “It’s good to see those guys battle back both nights and it’s always good to come back on the right side of that thing, especially when you struggled a little bit early.”
The Copperheads will look to build off of their momentum in Wednesday's game when they play the Saginaw Sugar Beets again at 7:05 at Bob Wren Stadium.