LEADWOOD — Nearly six hours of intense baseball in uncomfortable heat on Saturday left the top of the overall standings unchanged in the MABA 13-year-old division.
The North County Raiders maintained their one-game lead with two games remaining after earning a necessary double-header split against the second-place Leadwood Marlins at Frankclay Field.
A huge momentum swing during game one saw the Marlins rally for eight unanswered runs, and claim a dramatic 9-8 victory in eight innings when Ethan Short smashed a walk-off RBI double to the left-center wall.
The Marlins trailed 8-1 midway through the fourth inning when Raiders starter L.J. Weible was pulled from the mound. A sequence of three infield errors sparked an immediate five-run outburst.
Lane Mercille ripped a deep two-run triple to left with two outs, and Colby Eckhoff capped his 3-for-4 effort with a RBI single that made it 8-6. The comeback would be completed in the fifth.
RBI hits from Kyle Coleman and Luke Jacobsen evened the score and the Marlins eventually loaded the bases with no outs. However, third baseman Dyllon Parmley left his feet to make a backhand catch near the line, then touched the base for a stunning double play.
Josh Carillo pitched four scoreless innings of relief and struck out five for the win. Carillo allowed a lead-off double to Levi Spray in the seventh, but answered by fanning the next three batters.
Jacobsen, Mercille and Coleman each collected two hits, and Isaac Vinson doubled for the Marlins.
The Raiders built an early 5-0 lead exclusively on unearned runs. Trevor Mason drove in Seth Tiefenauer with a first-inning single, and Hunter Strange added a two-run single in the second.
Parmley extended the margin with a two-run triple after Austin Johnson began the fourth with a double, and scored on a squeeze bunt by Spray.
Weible allowed just two earned runs and compiled strikeouts over 6 1/3 innings in the hard-luck loss, but the Raiders would dominate game two and regain first place with a 10-1 triumph.
Tiefenauer had two hits including a triple, and pitched five innings with five strikeouts for the win. The Raiders (7-1) did not relinquish the lead after surging ahead with two runs in the third.
Jesse Schwent highlighted the victory with a triple and double, and Parmley chipped in two singles.
Klayton Loughary paced the Marlins (6-2) with two singles. Eckhoff, Vinson and Garrett Womble each had one hit.