MARIETTA — All season long, the goal for Marietta has been growth; learning, changing and adapting to the competition around it, to prepare for district playoffs.

It all paid off Monday, when the Indians took their home field and earned a decisive 8-3 victory against Lone Grove.

"That's a tremendous win for us," Marietta coach Erik Hughes said. "These boys have been working hard all year, and for us to go out and play solid like that is just tremendous."

Lone Grove drew first blood in the opening frame, taking an early 1-0 lead on the strength of a Dillon Atkinson RBI single.

Howver, it was all Indians the rest of the way.

Marietta put together a critical four-run second inning, started by a leadoff double from Travis Choate, one of two he would pick up in the game, and then scored on a single by Adam Sanchez.

The Indians would load the bases for Devin O'Connor, who slapped a single up the middle of the diamond that scored two more runners. Lone Grove starter Grant Harmon left one more pitch up to Travis Hallum, who laced yet another RBI single to give Marietta its early 4-1 cushion.

"We kept putting the ball in play, and it fell for us," Hughes said. "It wasn't anything special we were doing, we just put it in play."

Marietta would add two runs in both the third and fourth innings, with Alek Hicks bringing home two with a RBI single, while Jacob Stewart and Chase Handley added RBI singles of their own.

The Indians also got a workmanlike effort from starter Handley on the mound, who threw a complete game while allowing three runs on seven hits and striking out six.

Two of his strikeouts proved to be huge momentum-killers for the Longhorns; in both the third and sixth innings, Handley put away Lone Grove on strikeouts with runners in scoring position.

"He challenged them up, moved the ball in and out," Hughes said. "The biggest thing I told him was to relax, not to press, and he did that."

Justice Ruhnke and Aaron Hamilton added doubles for Lone Grove in the losing effort.

Follow White on Twitter: @swhiteARD