CHILLICOTHE, Ohio — After a 1-day postponement and nearly 18 hours of continuous rain, the Marauders’ well simply ran dry.
The Meigs baseball team mustered only three hits and couldn’t dig out of an early hole Friday afternoon during a 3-0 setback to sixth-seeded Fairland in a Division III Southeast District championship matchup at VA Memorial Field in Ross County.
The seventh-seeded Marauders (17-6) started things well as Lucas Finlaw was hit by a pitch, then Finlaw advanced to third on an Ethan Stewart single — putting runners at the corners with only one away.
The Dragons (20-5), however, followed with back-to-back outs that stopped the bleeding and left the game scoreless midway through the first.
FHS — winners of 15 straight decisions now — used a little 2-out lightning in its half of the first as Niko Kiritsy singled and Cooper Cummings was hit by a pitch, then Blake Trevathan singled in Kiritsy for a quick 1-0 edge.
Alex Rogers singled to load the bases, but MHS starter Drew Dodson battled back and established a full count with a second strike to Tyler Sammons.
The return throw from home to Dodson took a short hop and went awry of the Meigs starter, and Cummings sprinted home in an attempt to take advantage of the situation.
The relay throw back to MHS catcher Jake Martin ultimately wasn’t in time to get Cummings at the plate, allowing Fairland to build a 2-0 advantage. Sammons struck out on the following pitch to end the inning.
The Marauders again had something going in the fifth as Conner Imboden was hit by a pitch with one away, then Imboden ended up at third on a 2-out single by Finlaw.
The Maroon and Gold, however, lined out in their next at-bat, again leading to a scoring threat coming up empty.
Caleb Burnem provided a 1-out double in the top of the sixth and was at third base with two away, but a short dribbler was scooped up by the catcher and a successful throw down to first made it a 2-0 contest midway through the sixth.
Then, in the bottom half of the sixth, Fairland added some insurance as Trevathan drew a 2-out walk. Keegan Smith entered in as a courtesy runner for the FHS starter and eventually scored on a Rogers double, making it a 3-0 contest headed into the finale.
The Marauders went down in order in the top of the seventh, allowing Fairland to secure a date in next Thursday’s regional semifinal at VA Memorial Stadium. The Dragons will take on Minford, who defeated Zane Trace 5-3 on Friday afternoon.
Sometimes it just isn’t your day, especially when it comes to high school athletics in a survive-and-advance scenario.
That was pretty much the sentiment of first-year Meigs skipper Pat Martin, who spoke about the events of the afternoon.
“Today, that’s just baseball. You are hitting a round ball with a round bat. Sometimes the ball just doesn’t fall the way you want it to,” Martin said. “Drew (Dodson) was good out there today on the mound for us and we did a lot of positive things behind him out there today. The ball just fell Fairland’s way today, and give them all the credit for that. It’s not a result of the work we’ve put in this year, but it’s baseball. Sometimes you just don’t come out on top.”
Fairland outhit the guests by a 5-3 overall margin and committed only one of the three errors in the contest. Meigs also stranded seven of the dozen runners left on base.
Stewart, Burnem and Martin had a hit apiece for the Marauders. Rogers paced FHS with two hits, while Kiritsy, Trevathan and Brycen Hunt added a safety each for the victors.
Drew Dodson took the tough-luck loss after allowing three runs (two earned), five hits and one walk over six innings while striking out six.
Trevathan surrendered three hits and two walks over seven scoreless frames while fanning eight.
It was tough to say goodbye to his first class of seniors, but Martin noted that those young men should be proud of the things they’ve accomplished this spring.
He also feels that the program is in good shape moving forward … and is hopeful that his Marauders might be in this position again about a year from now.
“I told the seniors when we were taking the picture out there to smile, because someday this isn’t going to hurt so much. Someday they’ll be very proud of what they’ve done this year,” Martin said. “We’ll have some key pieces returning and Meigs baseball has a rich tradition of winning. We’ve done nothing to tarnish that legacy this spring, and our future looks just as bright as things are now. There will be some good things going on in this program for years to come.”
It was the final baseball game for seniors Theron Eberts, Layne Stanley, Lucas Finlaw, Jake McElroy, Brayden Young, Caleb Burnem and Drew Dodson in the Maroon and Gold.
The Marauders went 10-2 in league play and claimed the 2022 Tri-Valley Conference Ohio Division title outright.
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Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.