Columbus Clinch Highlights DH Split with Marietta

by Daniel Wilson

Columbus – The Columbus Chatt-a-Hoots (12-13) clinched a spot in the 2021 Sunbelt Playoffs with a 12-4 victory over the Marietta Patriots (6-20) in Game 1 of their doubleheader Sunday afternoon at Golden Park.  Marietta then rode a strong performance from Zach Turner to win 5-3 in the second game, spoiling the regular-season home finale for the Hoots in their inaugural year.

Columbus is the first team to clinch a playoff spot in their inaugural season since the East Cobb Patriots and the Phenix City Crawdads in 2014.  Their 12 wins so far are also the most for a first-year organization since Phenix City won 19 games that year.

Turner (2-1) was stellar on the mound for Marietta as he held the Chatt-a-Hoots scoreless in the first six innings of Game 2.  His final stat line saw him go 6.2 innings, allowing two runs on five hits with three walks and seven strikeouts.

Game One: Columbus 12, Marietta 4

The two teams played 3-1/2 innings on Wednesday, July 21.  Columbus jumped out to a 6-3 lead before the game was halted due to inclement weather.  Once the game resumed on Sunday, the Hoots immediate scored two runs on a pair of sacrifice flies in the fourth to increase their lead to 8-3.

The Chatt-a-Hoots added three more runs on four hits in the fifth.  Then, after Charlie Tull hit a solo home run for the Patriots in the bottom of the inning, the Hoots added one more in the seventh to make it 12-4.  This was the fourth straight time that the Hoots had scored 11 or more runs in a game after topping the Waleska Wild Things 11-8 on July 20 and the Brookhaven Bucks 11-1 and 11-6 on July 24.

Brian Trepanier got the start on Wednesday and allowed three runs in 2.2 innings.  Daniel Holley (2-1) then took over on Sunday and pitched the final 4.1 innings, allowing only one run on two hits with a walk and a season-high seven strikeouts to earn the win.

Patriots starter Grant Guinther (1-4) took the loss after allowing six runs on six hits in three innings.

Game Two: Marietta 5, Columbus 3

Marietta wasted no time trying to rebound from game one as Wade Richardson drew a lead-off walk in the first inning.  Richardson then stole second, advanced to third on a groundout, and scored on a base hit by William Lybrook to give the Patriots a 1-0 lead.

The score remained that way until the fourth as they increased their lead to 4-0 with an error and two hits in the inning.  One more run came across in the fifth on a bases-loaded single by Travis Hammond to make it 5-0.

Columbus would not go quietly in front of their home crowd of over 1700 as Henry Daniels led off the seventh with a single and advanced to third on a pass ball and a groundout.  Connor O’Neal then smacked a double to center field that allowed  Daniels to score the Hoots first run of the contest.  With a lack of available arms, the Patriots then turned to Pirmin Brechbuhl, who moved from right field to the pitchers mound and promptly struck out Ellis Yohn, leaving the Hoots down to their final out.

  Zac Rice homered on a 2-2 pitch from Brechbuhl to make it 5-3, and then Bryce Newman singled to left field to bring the tying run to the plate.  But Brechbuhl was able to induce a groundout to first to end the game and secure the win for the Pats.

Hoots starter Trent Hodgdon (1-2) took the loss after allowing two runs on four hits with five walks and five strikeouts in 3.1 innings.

Both teams will return to action on Monday, July 26.  The Patriots will face the Gwinnett Astros at Peachtree Ridge High school at 7:05 p.m.  The Chatt-a-Hoots will face the Gainesville Braves at Ivey-Watson Field at 7:05 in the first game of a three-game series that could have serious implications on playoff seedings.

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