MARTINS FERRY - The ability to work out of jams is a major factor in high school baseball.
Martins Ferry was able to work out of jams in each of the last three innings to stave off Harrison Central for a 3-1 victory during their windy Wednesday afternoon encounter high atop the Purple City.
"There's no reason whatsoever that we shouldn't be standing here 3-0," said a relieved Anthony Reasbeck after his Purple Riders secured their first victory of the young season. "I felt like we blew one at Harrison and we really blew one at Meadowbrook."
The Purple Riders fell in Cadiz on Monday and dropped a tough decision in eight innings on Tuesday to the Colts. They'll take today off before hosting Buckeye Local on Friday.
The Purple Riders received solid pitching from junior Tyler Strama, who went the distance, but they were victimized by seven fielding errors. However, the Huskies were only able to capitalize on one of those when they pushed across a run in the second inning.
"The first step is giving yourself a chance, and we did that, but they made the plays when they needed them," said rookie Harrison Central head coach Justin Clifford, who watched his team drop its second straight since the opening-day victory against the Riders.
While Strama was brilliant, scattering four hits and fanning seven, Harrison Central's Drew Horn deserved a better fate. The slick righty didn't overpower Ferry with his velocity, but his off-speed pitches were effective and he consistently had Rider hitters guessing.
"It's tough when you pitch that well and come out on the wrong end," Clifford said. "He probably pitched the best game we've had all season."
Horn got himself into trouble in the first inning when he allowed a lead-off single to Jonathan Carlier. He then issued a walk to junior shortstop Andrew Chlon.
After recording two outs with relative ease, designated hitter Joe Myers' groundball skipped by the Harrison Central defender, allowing two unearned runs to come across.
The Huskies made it a 2-1 reading after Tyler Rose scored when Ferry tried to gun down a Huskie baserunner, but it skipped into the outfield for an error.
Ferry manufactured a run in the third. Carlier led off with his second base hit of the game. He swiped second, moved to third on a fly out and then was driven in by Strama on a sacrifice fly.
Harrison Central loaded the bases in the fifth, but Strama induced a pop-out to himself and then got hard-hitting Huskies' junior Nick Pelegreen to hit into a taylor-made 4-6-3 twin killing.
"That's baseball," Clifford said. "(Nick) hit a shot and the kid made a play and turned into a double play. That's the way this game goes."
The Huskies put two more on in sixth after Ferry errors, but the unflappable Strama got a pop out to third and a ground out to second. In the seventh, another Riders' error put runners on first and second with one down.
Martins Ferry 3, Harrison Central 1
Harrison Central 010 000 0 - 1 4 2
Martins Ferry 201 000 x - 3 6 7
HARRISON CENTRAL (1-2): Horn (LP) and Staten; Rutter 2S
MARTINS FERRY (1-2): Strama (WP) and Donahue; Carlier 2S; Donahue 2S; Oberdick 2S.