Meigs’ pitcher Heath Dettwiller dominated on the mound and at the plate as the Marauders defeated Athens 4-1 and claimed the Tri-Valley Conference championship at Rannow field in Athens on Monday night.
Dettwiller pitched six scoreless innings and held off a late surge by the Bulldogs (10-6, 6-2 TVC) in the bottom of the seventh to earn the win over the two-time defending TVC champions.
“That was two really well-pitched games by both starting pitchers,” Athens coach Fred Gibson said. “They both battled like crazy. They made some plays and we had a few miscues that were at crucial times and they took advantage.”
With the bases loaded and no outs in the top of the sixth inning, Dettwiller drilled a single to left field to score the first run in what would become a four-run inning for the Marauders (14-1, 9-1 TVC).
An inning and a half later, the same situation occurred, but this time Dettwiller was on the mound trying to preserve the four-run lead.
Two infield flies and a strikeout later, Dettwiller got out of the jam with only one run allowed.
“With bases loaded and no one out they got four runs, we only got one run,” Gibson said. “That was the difference in the game.”
Dettwiller was aided by the help of his defense, especially freshman third baseman Taylor Rowe, who made two diving stops for outs.
“The defense was incredible,” Dettwiller said. “I can’t say enough about it. We had guys making diving catches on all sides of the field.”
The first time these teams play, an infield fly was dropped, allowing the winnings runs to score as Athens defeated Meigs 6-3 for Dettwiller’s and the Marauders’ only loss of the season.
This time however, Meigs first baseman Colton Stewart made sure the same situation would not occur.
With two outs and the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh inning, Athens’ shortstop Casey Grimm hit an infield fly. Right as it appeared the ball was going to drop, Stewart dove over Rowe, and in dramatic fashion, caught the final out of the game.
“I saw it leave the bat, but when I looked up, I lost it,” Dettwiller said. “Colton (Stewart) told me before the game, ‘Heath, I swear I’m going to catch that ball in the infield if that happens again so just get out of the way.’ It was a great play to end the game.”
Athens also had runners on second and third with no outs in the first inning but was unable to capitalize on that opportunity as well.
Dettwiller delivered back-to-back strikeouts followed by a routine pop fly to short to end the threat.
“Not being able to score on that chance in the first inning was huge,” Gibson said. “We still have a chance to be second in the league but second place sucks, especially after winning the league two years in a row.”
After the game, Meigs’ bench erupted in celebration.
“It feels great. You can’t compare it to anything,” Dettwiller said. “We lost down there and we knew what we had to do. We knew that if we won, we would be TVC champs.”