It had been 11 years since the Naples baseball team won a sectional game. That dated back before the Big Green’s current coach D.J. Stephens played on the team.



Eighth-seeded Naples used strong pitching and timely hitting to end the drought with a 12-3 win over ninth-seeded Marion in the first round of the Section 5 Class CC tournament Monday.



“It’s been a long time since Naples has (won a sectional game) so it’s an honor to have done it with my team,” senior pitcher Tyler Vest said. “Being the starting pitcher it was an honor to get the win.”

It had been 11 years since the Naples baseball team won a sectional game. That dated back before the Big Green’s current coach D.J. Stephens played on the team.

Eighth-seeded Naples used strong pitching and timely hitting to end the drought with a 12-3 win over ninth-seeded Marion in the first round of the Section 5 Class CC tournament Monday.

“It’s been a long time since Naples has (won a sectional game) so it’s an honor to have done it with my team,” senior pitcher Tyler Vest said. “Being the starting pitcher it was an honor to get the win.”

Vest was impressive on the mound allowing just three runs on six hits while striking out 10 in the complete-game victory. He kept the Black Knights hitters off balance from start to finish.

“He’s been spot on all year,” Stephens said. “He was working the curveball in, knowing what to do and what to throw in what counts. That’s just how he’s been throwing all season.”

Marcus Case led the Big Green bats going 3 for 4 with an RBI and four runs scored. Tyler Holton, 2 for 2 with 2 RBIs, and Adrian Black, 1 for 3 with 2 RBIs, also came up big at the plate.

Naples struck first in the top of the second inning. Marcus Case started the frame with a ground-rule double. He advanced to third on an error and Jake Ball brought him home on a ground out.

The Black Knights tied it in the third. Bryce Porter and Nate Holahan started the inning with singles and Matt Rogers scored Porter on a ground out.

The Big Green went ahead for good in the fourth. Holton hit a single to left field to score Matt Hendee and Black hit a single up the middle to score Case and Holton to put Naples up 4-1.

“That made us pumped up,” Case said of Black’s big hit. “That really kept the spirits up and everybody started hitting the ball.”

Holton padded the lead with a ground-rule double to center to score Hendee in the fifth. Case and Holton reached home on an error.

Marion closed the gap in the sixth when Preston Crego hit a two-run single to score Andy Sippel and Pete Cahill.

The Big Green responded with five runs in the bottom of the inning. Vest, Hendee and Case all recorded one RBI in the frame and two more runs scored on an error.

Vest put the Black Knights down in order in the seventh to end the game.

Naples (9-9) visits top-seeded Lyons, another Wayne County League team, on Wednesday. The Lions boast one of Section 5’s most talented pitchers in Derick Fera.

“From what I’ve been told we kind of matchup with them pretty fairly,” Stephens said. “They’ve got one kid that can throw some smoke and we’ll probably see him on Wednesday. If we can just play our game and get the sticks going I don’t see why we can’t give them a good run for their money.”