Derrick Webb, Staff Writer
PIKETON — At this time last year, Shawnee State’s Marty Knittel was just starting his summer with Waverly’s Post 142 summer legion team.
Fast forward 365 days and Knittel was beating his former teammates.
Knittel, now with Portsmouth Post 23, made quick work of the Shockers’ offense Tuesday evening in SCOL action, tossing a complete game gem in a 1-0 win.
The former West Senator allowed just five hits, struck out four and didn’t walk a batter in the victory.
“Marty Knittel is a good pitcher. He was in our program for four years,” Waverly 142 coach Jonathan Teeters said. “He was a freshman at Shawnee State this past year and that’s what legion ball is about, getting a taste of better pitching. You’re always playing guys who are playing at the next level and guys who have aspirations to go to the next level. Even with the loss, we’ll get better from facing a quality pitcher like Knittel.”
On the opposite side of the spectrum, 142’s Tanner Cunningham took a tough-luck loss. The former Valley Indian threw four innings and allowed just two hits. But a run that crossed the plate thanks to a passed ball in the fourth innings, unfortunately, made all the difference in the world.
“We’ve got three or four guys that can throw but Tanner is our most experienced pitcher,” Teeters said. “He’s been here for four years and he’s going to college to play ball. He works really hard. We’re always excited to have him throw.”
Knittel singled in that fourth inning before giving way to pinch runner Brice Robnett. After Nathan McCormick laid down a bunt, an errant throw allowed Robnett to move to third and, just a few moments later, touch home plate.
From that point on, Knittel took matters into his own hands. In the seventh inning, the Shockers (2-2) logged back-to-back two-out hits to threaten the lead but failed to score.
“The defense, as a whole, played phenomenal. We didn’t have any errors, we knocked every ball down and we made every play that we needed to,” Post 23 coach Brady Knittel said. “That’s especially true in that last inning when  was threatening to score. We made plays.”
For Portsmouth (3-1), Knittel finished 2-for-3 at the dish while Seth Nichols accounted for 23’s only other hit.
Cunningham was 1-for-3 at the plate for Waverly while Kannon Pack, Tucker Tackett, Derek Eblin and Scott Lightle all had a hit apiece.
Both teams will be back in action Friday in Hillsboro in Post 129’s annual Wood Bat tournament.
“Today was the first day where we really had all of our guys,” Teeters said. “A lot of guys take senior trip and vacations, trying to get that out of the way. But every summer, we tell our guys we want to win 20 games and we want to win the league. We want to get to the state tournament. That’s always the goal.”