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Waskis saves the game for North Marion 10-9 section win against Oak Glen

May 8—RACHEL — Playing the day after rain postponed the scheduled game day, No. 4 North Marion and No. 5 Oak Glen met on the diamond for the start of the section tournament Tuesday afternoon.

The teams went back and forth with three lead changes in three straight innings. North Marion held a two-run lead in the top of the seventh, and sophomore Jackson Waskis made the save at pitcher to clinch the Huskies' 10-9 win over Oak Glen.

"We elected to bring in Jackson at [designated hitter] because he's been hitting really well in batting practice and everything," North Marion Head Coach Vic Seccuro said. "We knew we were going to try and save him for the close. We didn't know it was going to be this tight. It worked out for us, but it was nerve wracking."

Waskis managed to seal the win after Oak Glen loaded the bases with only one out. One might expect a pitcher to fold under the pressure, but Waskis has experience in situations like this one.

"I've been in that situation before, so I knew how to deal with it," Waskis said. "I learned how to deal with stress a long time ago. Back maybe four years ago, I could not handle that situation. I was really terrible with it. But now I've learned to cope with it and I've been able to handle it."

Waskis closed for a rotation of North Marion pitchers. Colin Hess started and pitched 3.1 innings. Hunter Rhodes relieved Hess in the fourth and pitched for 0.2 innings. Captain Weekly pitched to start the fifth and went two innings, and Waskis pitched the final inning to close.

Weekly received the win as he pitched when North Marion scored the game winning run in the fifth. Waskis received the save after Oak Glen scored a run on his watch but not enough to tie or win the game.

"I thought at the beginning I could have done better," Weekly said. "But once I got in my groove, I thought I locked in pretty good and helped the team out for a pretty good win."

Oak Glen also put in a rotation of pitchers, starting with Josh Maher for two innings, then Preston Cole for 2.2 innings, Christian Chappell for 0.2 innings and Ty Patterson for 0.2 innings to finish. Cole received the loss as he gave up the winning run in the fifth.

Batting wise, both teams showed some of their best. Oak Glen's strength involved bunting and beating the throw to first, while North Marion excelled in the clutch.

"I thought we got some very clutch hits at the times we needed them," Seccuro said. "There were a couple kids who came through for us. [Spencer] Parrish was one, Waskis was one, and Rylan Craig was one. You got to have that to win a game like this. They came to play, and it was just a well-fought game."

Oak Glen started off strong with two runs in the first off RBI's from Tyler McKay and Maddox McKay for the early lead. North Marion's Gavin Owens responded for the Huskies with a sacrifice RBI to make it 2-1 after the first inning.

Waskis tied the game up in the second inning for the Huskies. He beat the throw to third for the steal, and the throw hit the pole of Oak Glen's dugout to go out of play, advancing Waskis home for the run.

North Marion took the lead in the third inning with another sacrifice RBI from Owens. Hess followed it with an RBI single, and Waskis hit an RBI double to make it 5-2 for North Marion at the end of three.

The lead didn't last an inning, however. Oak Glen's Cole hit an RBI single to start a rally in the fourth inning. Tyler McKay hit a sacrifice RBI immediately after, and Maddox McKay and Chappell both followed with RBI singles, giving the Golden Bears a 6-5 lead.

Parrish tied the game back up in the bottom of the fourth with an RBI single for North Marion. Entering the fifth inning, North Marion and Oak Glen held a 6-6 tie.

Cole broke the tie in the top of the fifth to give Oak Glen the lead again. His two-run RBI single made it 8-6 for the Golden Bears, but all it did was fuel the Huskies for a rally.

Waskis and Cody Wyckoff made it an even game again with back-to-back steals at home on wild pitches. Craig hit an RBI single to give North Marion the lead, and Collin Verbosky brought in an insurance run with an RBI single to make it 10-8 at the end of five.

After a scoreless sixth inning, North Marion entered the seventh with the two-run lead, and Waskis came into close.

Waskis struck out the first batter while looking, but the bases quickly loaded up. Robbie Carter scored for Oak Glen after Waskis walked a batter to make it a one-run game. Then, after a line drive out to second, Waskis struck out the final batter for the save and 10-9 North Marion victory.

"My pitching coach, Jason Parrish, called a sinker," Waskis said about his game winning pitch. "It broke perfectly. Got it where I wanted. Strike out."

While the section tournament is double elimination and Oak Glen has at least one more game to its season, getting a win early still means a lot, especially considering North Marion plays No. 1 Fairmont Senior next in the bracket.

"We need this a lot," Waskis said. "A win at Fairmont Senior would be really great for our second win. We can just keep adding on to that and get that momentum that we need to go forward."

Seccuro said the momentum North Marion holds now will be key against Fairmont Senior. North Marion previously lost to the Polar Bears 9-0, but Seccuro thinks one play, a missed double play, decided the outcome of that game.

"If we got that double play, it could be a lot different, but that's all hindsight," Seccuro said. "I'm just hoping we can take this momentum into tomorrow because they're a damn good baseball team."

Fairmont Senior and North Marion are scheduled to meet at Mary Lou Retton Park on Wednesday, May 8 at 5 p.m., but the weather may change those plans.

Reach Colin C. Rhodes at 304-367-2548.