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A three run outburst in the fifth inning would provide enough cushion for the Marion County High School baseball team to outlast Bethlehem High School 7-5 at Hourigan Field on Monday of last week.
"We played good at times and awful at times," Head Coach Chad Spalding said.
Spalding said he and the coaching staff expected inconsistent play to open the season.
"We had some timely hits that really helped us out," Spalding said.
Runs by Eric Miles, Paul Spalding and Bryan Gootee sealed the deal for the Knights in the fifth. David Raley stepped in on the mound in the ninth inning to close the door for the Knights and pick up the save.
"He struck out their best hitter to end the game. It was a thrilling way to end the first game," Spalding said.
Justin Buckman had four successful innings following Tyler Wright, who got the nod to start for the Knights.
Buckman picked up the win and finished with six strikeouts while only allowing one run. He also scored two runs on offense and had two stolen bases.
"Tyler (Wright) was disappointed in his play but we were happy with him offensively. He blistered two balls," Spalding said.
Wright was coming off a bout with illness and likely wasn't at 100 percent.
Spalding also gave credit to junior Joe Lewis for making what Spalding said was the second best catch he's seen by a Knight.
The coach said Lewis made an over-the-shoulder Willie Mays style catch while lying out and landing near the warning track. Spalding said only Josh Buck's catch that saved a crucial game ranked higher on his list of top catches.
Tyler Wright, Justin Buckman and Jason Buckman finished with two hits apiece. The Knights also stole five bases. The Eagles had four errors to only one recorded error for the Knights.
"We're not going to average that many (stolen bases) but it's a good start," Spalding said.
Bethlehem's Casey Robinson led all batters with three hits while scoring two runs for the Eagles.
The Knights scored seven runs on seven hits. The Eagles scored five runs on six hits.
Bethlehem 1 3 0 0 0 1 0 5 6 4
Marion County 3 1 0 0 3 0 X 7 7 1