Mark Williams has been a top-notch pitcher for Marietta all season. And with a berth in the NCAA Division III national championship game on the line, Williams rose to the occasion one more time.
The senior DIII All-American recorded 10 strikeouts and gave up only one run on seven hits as he led the Etta Express (45-3) to a 5-1 win against Buena Vista Sunday afternoon at Fox Cities Stadium in Appleton, Wis.
Marietta head coach Brian Brewer was thrilled with the performance his star hurler gave in win. Williams is now 8-1 on the season.
“I think Mark was absolutely outstanding, just like he has been all year,” Brewer told the official school site.
The Etta Express actually only managed six hits in the win as they moved one step closer to winning their fifth national championship in program history.
Bryan Gregorich had an RBI-single in the second that gave top-ranked Marietta its first run of the game and the Etta Express added three more runs in the sixth against the Beavers (33-17). Casey Levens finished with two hits and scored two runs.
Buena Vista tallied seven hits. Brad Blume drove in a run with with a two-out base hit in the seventh but Williams delivered a strikeout to leave two runners stranded and end the threat of a comeback.
Andy Compton added two hits as well while Reggie Kock worked 5 2/3 innings, giving up four runs on four hits and striking out four. He also issued four walks.
Marietta didn’t have its most impressive offensive performance of the season, but in a tournament setting where every team s good, finding ways to win in the end is what matters most.
“You’re not going to come out of the gate and throw up big numbers,” Brewer said. “You’ve got to figure some things out when you are seeing good pitching. I think our guys are doing that, which again, is impressive.”
Marietta has to play Keystone today even though it is guaranteed a spot in the national final. If the Etta Express wins, it would have to be beaten twice on Tuesday to leave town without the championship.