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Martin Oil opens finals with come-from behind victory

Late rally
Earnie Kelley lines a single to right in the seventh inning against Barkman Oil at Vets Field on Thursday evening. Kelley moved around the bases to score the winning run on a Cameron Irvin single, in a 6-5 Martin Oil victory in the opening game of the Federation finals. (The Daily Herald/Stacey Manning)

“We stole one,” That was Martin Oil manager Ed Davis’ remark following his team’s 6-5 victory over Barkman Oil in Game One of the George B. Kelley Federation championship playoffs.
Martin Oil led for most of the game, behind a beautiful pitching effort from 16-year old right hander Nate Gray, then came from behind to post the one-run win.
With his team down 4-1, in the bottom of the sixth inning, Barkman Oil center fielder Cody Stiffey blasted a three-run home run, the only bad pitch Gray threw, to tie the score 4-4. Jordan Saylor followed Stiffey with a triple that knocked Gray out with nobody down in the Barkman Oil sixth. Justin Miller switched from first base to pitcher for Martin Oil and immediately got Derek Forshey to ground back to the mound and Derrick Snowberger to line out to second baseman Trey Mock, who climbed the ladder to make a clutch catch. Just when it seemed Martin Oil might get out of the inning with a tie score, a wild pitch scored Saylor for a 5-4 Barkman lead.
“The guys just refused to quit, they didn’t want to lose,” said Davis. “I came close to pinch hitting for Cam, but was watching him as the inning progressed and you could see him getting excited, so I decided to give him a shot.”
After Miller got the third out on a groundout to shortstop, Martin Oil came up for their final chance at-bat. Gray led off with his second walk of the game and Kelley singled to right, sending Gray all the way to third base. Trey Mock tied the game with a sacrifice fly that scored Gray. With Cameron Irvin, who had had three tough at-bats, including two strikeouts, due up, Davis let the designated hitter bat. Irvin came through, sending a one-strike pitch up the middle for a single that scored Kelley with the go-ahead run.
Kelley then moved to pitcher in the bottom of the seventh and preceded to mow down three straight Barkman Oil hitters to earn the save and give Martin Oil a one-win advantage with game two tonight at Vets at 7 p.m. Kelley got Nate Dick on a grounder to Chad Coho at third base, then fanned Tyler Simpson and Drew Ebersole in convincing fashion.
Martin Oil took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first. Jake Manning beat out an infield single and Brian Hostler was hit by a pitch, before Kelley ripped a one-out triple that scored both runners.
Barkman Oil got half of that back in the home half of the first, when Dick singled with one out and scored when Kelley let a single by Simpson get past him.
In the fourth, Martin Oil put two more tallies on the scoreboard to take a 4-1 lead. Chad Coho walked for the second time, and moved around to score when Jimmy Watters dropped down a sacrifice bunt that was thrown away by Barkman Oil pitcher Tyler Nash. Watters then scored on a wild pitch.
“Getting the first win is always great,” said Davis. “It gives you a little more flexibility with your pitching and is an emotional high. Nate Gray just threw a great game, except for the one pitch to Stiffey. Justin Miller did a good job keeping us close and then Earnie was just lights out in that seventh inning to slam the door.
“This was a great ballgame. Barkman Oil is a very good team and Tyler Nash is a great pitcher. Every time he is on the mound, he gives his team a chance to win. Our kids just refused to lose, we stole this one. Tomorrow we have to go out and probably give the ball to another of our 16-year old pitchers and keep working.”
Martin Oil 6 Barkman Oil 5
Martin Oil – Ja. Manning, c, 3-1-2; Hostler, ss-cf, 3-1-0; Gray, p-ss, 2-1-1; Kelley, cf-1b-p, 4-1-2; Mock, 2b, 3-0-0; Kovac, rf, 0-0-0; Irvin, dh, 4-0-1; Ju. Manning cr-pr, 0-0-0; C. Coho, 3b, 2-1-0; Watters, lf, 2-1-0; Miller, 1b-p, 3-0-1; J. Coho, pr, 0-0-0. TOTALS 26-6-7.
Barkman Oil – Nash, p, 4-0-0; Dick, 2b, 4-1-2; Simpson, 1b, 4-0-1; Ewart, c, 0-0-0; Ebersole, dh, 4-0-1; Hardy. pr, 0-1-0; Greenleaf, lf, 2-1-0; Stiffey, cf, 2-1-1; Saylor, ss, 2-1-1; Forshey, rf, 3-0-0; Snowberger, 3b, 3-0-0.
Martin Oil 200 200 2 6-7-3.
Barkman Oil 100 004 0 5-6-3.
2B: Miller.
3B: Kelley, Saylor.
HR: Stiffey.
RBI: Kelley 2, Mock. Irvin, Stiffey 3.
SO: Gray 2, Kelley 2, Nash 6.
BB: Gray 2, Nash 5.
WP: Miller LP: Nash