AMATEUR BASEBALL: Marshall takes care of Luverne

Photo by Joshua Guetter Marshall’s Justin Mettling winds up a pitch during their game against Luverne Friday.

MARSHALL – On Wednesday, the Marshall A’s relied on their defense to squeak out a 2-1 win. It was a different story Friday night at Legion Field, as the A’s used an offensive outburst in the third inning to defeat the Luverne Redbirds for their second straight victory. On the mound for the A’s was Derek Branson, who gave up a pair of RBI singles in the first and third innings that gave the Redbirds an early 2-0 lead. Faced with an early deficit, the bottom of the third turned out to be the turning point in the game, as the A’s demonstrated tremendous patience at the plate the entire inning. Facing Luverne starting pitcher Nick Overgaard, Marshall’s first three batters, Matt Felton, Nate Hoeft, and Branson, all walked to load the bases. The next batter, Barry Meyer, was then hit by a pitch that scored the A’s first run. In stepped Justin Greenwood, who delivered the biggest hit of the inning. With the bases still loaded, Greenwood crushed a ball to deep center field for a double that scored all three runners. Marshall had grabbed the lead, and they would never look back. The A’s continued to work the count in the inning, as two of the next three batters also walked. At this point, the first eight batters had all reached base, and Overgaard was finally replaced on the mound, but the A’s were still not done. Batting for the second time in the inning, Felton beat out an infield single for an RBI, and later, Meyer added a run-scoring hit of his own. It was Marshall’s 10th run of the inning, who had suddenly taken command with a comfortable 10-2 lead. In the third inning, the A’s had 14 players bat, along with four hits and six walks. Luverne refused to go away however, as the first five Redbird batters got hits off Branson in the top of the fourth. Branson would get two strikeouts in the inning, but Luverne scored five runs of their own, and were now only trailing by three runs. After an eventful couple of innings, the game would settle down largely due to the relief pitching of Luverne’s Connor Hoffman and Marshall’s Justin Mettling. Mettling entered the game in the fifth inning with a runner on first, but he shut down the Redbirds’ bats, pitching three straight scoreless innings before giving up a run in the eighth. The A’s were able to score a couple insurance runs in the eighth inning, capped by Meyer’s RBI single. Meyer was a force for the A’s at the plate all game, going 3 for 4 with three RBI’s. Now up 13-8, Mettling quickly retired the first two batters, but he struggled to throw strikes from there, walking the next three batters to load the bases. With Connor Sandbulte now at the plate, Mettling battled to a full count, before striking out the batter looking and ending the game. With so much offense from the A’s, the best performance likely came from Mettling, who got the win by pitching five innings of relief, giving up only three hits and one run. It was Mettling’s first win of the season, as the A’s improved to 6-3 on the year. The A’s tallied 19 total hits in the game, including four from Nick Macchio, and three from Meyer and Greenwood. They will travel to Brookings today at 2:00 riding a two-game winning streak.

Marshall A’s 13, Luverne Redbirds 8

Luverne 101 500 010 — 8 17 7

Marshall 0010 010 02 — 13 19 2

HITTING: Luverne (Phil Paquette 3-4; Andrew Verhey 3-4, 4 RBI’s); Marshall (Macchio 4-5; Meyer 3-4, 3 RBI’s; Greenwood 3-6, 2B, 3 RBI’s).

PITCHING (IP-H-R-ER-BB-SO): Luverne (Overgaard 2-2-5-5-8-1; Skyler Wenninger 2 2/3-9-4-4-1-2; Connor Hoffman 3 1/3-8-2-2-0-3); Marshall (Branson 4-14-7-7-2-3; Mettling 5-3-1-1-3-3).