John Marshall Crushes Union Local
GLEN DALE — John Marshall coach Mark Cisar knew at the beginning of the year that if his team’s hitting could match its quality pitching, the Monarchs could be a dangerous team.
He is beginning to see that thought come to fruition as John Marshall defeated visiting Union Local 12-1 on Tuesday in a five-inning contest, which extended the Monarchs’ winning streak to seven straight games.
“It would have been nice to have this at the beginning of the season but the good thing is we have it going now,” Cisar said. “That’s where you want to be and hopefully this continues throughout the rest of the season and into a playoff run.”
Also hitting his stride is Ethan Neely, who homered in his third straight game on Tuesday — a two-run blast over the center field fence. He belted a grand slam and a solo shot on Saturday and chalks it all up to superstition.
“I’m seeing the ball really well right now and I have my superstitions,” Neely said with a laugh. “I’ve been drinking Cotton Candy Bang before every game. It’s a little weird I know but that’s baseball. Saturday was my first home run of my career and it was a grand slam.
“We’ve also been wearing the same jerseys the last seven games, so hopefully we keep playing like this going into the weekend.”
Joel Wise also crushed a two-run homer in the JM triumph over the Jets that carried over the left-center field wall in the third to bring home teammate Jacob Coffield. Wise finished with five RBI.
“We’re being more disciplined at the plate, too,” Cisar said. “We’re trying to hit the ball somewhere and we’re having good at-bats.”
Union Local (12-9) jumped on the board first as Luke Merritt led off the game with a first-pitch swinging single and came around to score on an error.
The Monarchs (10-7) took over from there.
In the bottom of the first, Derek Black and Wise plated runs for a 2-1 edge, before JM blew it open in the second with a six-run frame.
Garrett Gellner raced home on a passed ball, Bryce Rayl, Coffield and Wise each drove in a run and Neely capped the inning with his two-run homer.
Coffield added a two-run triple in the third along with Wise’s two-run shot.
John Marshall’s defense was solid, as well. As JM held on to a 2-1 lead in the second with runners on second and third and one out, Merritt smacked a line drive up the middle where Black made a diving catch, got up and stepped on second for an inning-ending double play to keep his team on top.
“That was a great play,” Cisar said. “At the time it was a 2-1 game and that probably would have scored two, so it was a real nice play by Derek.”
The Jets finished with four hits and Carter Loase recorded his first career strikeout in his first appearance on the mound.
“We started hitting the ball,” UL coach Wade Smolira, who’s team was coming off a 10-4 win over Wheeling Central on Monday, said. “We’re just trying to bat stronger, field stronger and finish the year strong and go into sectionals.”