By Gary R. Rasberry
Grand Lake made it a three-win weekend after splitting a Sunday GLSCL doubleheader with Southern Ohio at Jim Hoess Field. The Copperheads won the opener 6-5 while the Mariners prevented the sweep with a 5-3 night-cap win.
Add in a Grand Lake Saturday sweep at Granville and the Mariners improve to 6-4 on the season. Southern Ohio heads back to Athens at 4-6.
"We got all our guys here and we're comfortable with our team now," said Mariners skipper Scott French. "We played good baseball games the whole weekend. To come out today and make it three out of four on the weekend is a good weekend.
The Mariners belted out 18 hits on the afternoon, taking advantage of a stiff win blowing out of Westview Park.
"It was more of a hitter's day than I have seen," said French. "The wind was blowing out and we took advantage of that."
Copperheads 6, Mariners 5
Things did not start out well for the Mariners as starter Chris Nigro allowed three Copperhead runs in the top of the first.
The Mariners got one back in the bottom of the inning when David Doss came home on a Southern Ohio error. In the second inning, Grand Lake took the lead. After Quentin Brown brought home Kevin Cislo with a bloop single over a drawn-in Southern Ohio infield, Doss took a 2-2 offering from Ben Buchanan over the left-field fence to make it 4-3 Mariners.
Nigro could not hold the lead, though, as Southern Ohio scored twice in the third and added one more in the fourth. The Copperheads did not leave many opportunities to score on base, stranding just two runners in the contest.
The Mariners stranded nine, including the bases loaded in the second when Brown flied out to left.
Grand Lake was able to shut down Southern Ohio's offense after the fourth. Adam Abraham struck out the side in the fifth after relieving Nigro, finishing with six punchouts over three innings. Neither team's pitchers issued any walks in the game.
In the sixth, the Mariners had a great opportunity to the lead as Brown and Doss reached base on back-to-back Southern Ohio errors to put two runners on. Brooks Hunton singled in Brown with two outs, but Copperheads reliever Mike Kirschenheiter ended the threat by getting pinch-hitter Dusty Hammond to strikeout. Kirschenheiter closed things out with a 1-2-3 seventh to get the save.
Mariners 5, Copperheads 3
This time it was Grand Lake jumping out early on the scoreboard against the Copperheads. Back-to-back doubles by Hammond and Doss were followed by a groundout from Derek Martin -- scoring Hammond -- and a single by Hunton that scored Doss to make it 2-0.
Mariners starter Brian Rumple looked good in the first four innings of work scattering four hits over the first four innings, walking just one and getting some big defensive plays from his teammates.
In the second inning with one out, Teas lofted a deep fly to left, which appeared to let Jared Willis score from third. The Mariners appealed that Willis left early and after throwing to third and allowing Martin to step on the bag, the umpire concurred and singled the out.
The Mariners also turned a double play in the fourth, getting Willie Walker to ground into the 4-6-3 inning-ender before Rumple was finally touched up for two runs in the fifth.
"Rumple comes out with solid pitches," said French. "He gives all he's got for however long he's out there. Today it was five innings."
The Mariners broke the tie in the bottom of the fifth with three runs. Doss came up big again with the bases loaded, belting a two-run single that scored Cislo and Ryan Chenoweth. Hunton later brought in Hammond to make it 5-2.
Ryan Kruszke came on in the sixth and allowed a run in the inning before closing the door for the save in the seventh.
Doss was the heavy hitter all day, going 3-for-5 with four RBI and three runs scored. Cislo added a 4-for-5 day with two runs scored.
After a day off today, the Mariners embark on a very busy week. Grand Lake will host Lima on Tuesday and Cincinnati on Wednesday before the Mariners are on the road at Xenia on Thursday and Lake Erie on Friday. The Mariners will then come back Saturday to play Granville in a doubleheader before wrapping up the season series against the Copperheads in Athens next Sunday.
"We'll have eight games in six days," said French. "We're going to stretch our bullpen out and use everybody. Getting everyone in there this past week for the first week of league play was key. Now everyone is accustomed to the role they'll play. I'm comfortable with the fact our bullpen is good."
The Mariners got a pair of pitching duels to come through for them as they faced Granville at Denison University.
In the opener, the Mariners and Settlers needed 11 innings before Grand Lake came away with the 3-2 win.
The game-winner came in the 11th when Hammond scored on a Derek Martin single.
Kyle Heyne got the win as the Coldwater grad came in to pitch with two outs in the sixth in relief of Chris Kupillas after Granville scored twice to tie the game up. Heyne pitched the next 5 1/3 innings, striking out three and walking none to get the win. Kupillas had a solid effort in the start, striking out five and scattering four hits along the way.
Hammond was 3-for-4 in the first game, as the rest of the team managed just four hits off Settlers pitching.
The second game was an even bigger gem as three Mariner pitchers combined on a two-hitter in a 1-0 win to get the sweep.
Michael Wilson got the start and allowed both Granville hits, striking out three and walking three in five innings of work. Jeff Loveys came on in the sixth and struck out two while Doss got the save with an inning of work.
The lone run of the game came in the fifth as Sean Hoorelbeke was hit by a pitch to start the inning and later scored on a Granville error.
The Mariners did not have many chances in the second game as Settlers pitchers Andy Clark and and Ryan Poffenroth combined to hold the Mariners to three hits and three walks in the contest.