An RBI single to left field by Dylan Ziels evened the score in the bottom of the seventh inning, sending the season opener for the Marathon High baseball team in Friday night against Miami Country Day into extra innings.
The Dolphins could not maintain that score as the Spartans crossed home twice in the top of the eight, but Marathon still had one at-bats remaining.
That frame would open with a fly out, but an error and two singles later, by Ryan Yelbon and Corbin Neller, loaded the bases.
One run would score on a fielder’s choice, but the final out of the game was made as Marathon attempted to move to tying run to third, resulting in a heartbreaking 4-3 loss.
“They had a solid lefty who threw well into the fifth,” said Marathon coach Joey Gonzalez. “We outhit them, 10 to 4, just missed a couple timely opportunities.”
Marathon pitchers Matt Kratzert, who tossed the first four shutout innings striking out nine and allowing a hit and five walks, and Ziels, who struck out seven and allowed one earned in 2 1/3 innings of work, kept the Miami Country Day bats quiet until the fifth, when the Spartans scored their first two runs.
The Dolphins had the lead at that point, on a Ryan Yelbon double in the second, and then Ben Hiller started the seventh-inning rally with a triple, his second hit of the game.
“Ben Hiller was a master at the plate,” said Gonzalez. “Besides going 2-for-2, including hitting a stand-up triple off the left center fence in the seventh, he also had two walks.”
Marathon, which had its initial season opener canceled at Westwood Christian, will now look to earn its first win on the road on Wednesday at Somerset South Homestead.
“I was hoping out first game [would be] to work out any kinks before taking on a conference opponent, but, due to COVID, Westwood couldn’t host us,” said Gonzalez. “It’s all good though, we’ll bounce back Wednesday.”