The Marshall County High School Tigers and the Page Patriots met in a battle of unbeaten teams Monday night at Preston Hopkins Field in Lewisburg and thrilled the fans with an extra inning game that had enough drama to fill an entire season.
Both squads came into the contest at 7-0, playing the first game of a home and home match-up for early season supremacy in District 10-AA.
Tigers strike first for two runs
Seth Lintz started on the mound for the Tigers and retired the Patriots in order in the first inning, striking out two.
In the bottom of the frame, Brad Barnes led off with a single to right-field, went to second on a bad hop single by Justin McQueen, and both runners scored on a lashing double to centerfield by Judd Stoltz to give the Tigers a 2-0 lead.
Page threatened in the second as Codi Webb walked and then went to second on a single to right by Trevor Scott. Lintz then went to work with some great stuff and got the next three Patriot batters ground into easy outs to end the inning.
The Tigers added another run in the bottom of the inning when Brad Barnes singled to right and easily scored on a long triple to the centerfield fence by Judd Stoltz.
Page came back in the top of the third to score their first run of the night when Corey Hammock laced a one-out double to down the right field line and scored on a single to left by Scott Lynn to make it 3-1. Lintz escaped big damage as he pitched his way out of a bases loaded jam with a huge strikeout to end the inning.
Primm led off the bottom of the frame with a single that Page centerfielder Tyler White lost in the lights and scored on a double by Seth Nance to give the Tigers a 4-1 margin.
Page ties the game at four-all
The Patriots evened the contest in the fourth inning, started by Tyler White, who led off with a swinging bunt single and stole second. After a strikeout and a pop-up to Nance at second base, Page's Kory Hammock was plunked by a Lintz fastball and both runners crossed the plate on a double to left by Scott Lynn. Courtesy Runner David Seeman stole third and scored on a throwing error to tie the game at four all.
Marshall County immediately took the lead back in their half of the fourth when Barnes walked with one out, stole second, and scored on an RBI single by Justin McQueen.
Lintz struck out two Patriots in the fifth en-route to a 1-2-3 inning.
Page staring pitcher Jeff Hughes also settled into a groove in the inning as the curve began to find the Tigers off balance and he allowed just a walk before a strikeout ended the stanza.
Page's coach almost tossed on inning ending call
The sixth inning brought some drama to the contest, when with two outs, Lintz nailed Page's Jim Corporali in the chest with a pitch and the home plate umpire called him out swinging. Page's head coach Nathan Brown went ballistic on the ump and nearly got tossed on the play, but was lucky only to be restricted to the bench the rest of the game.
The Tigers had a minor threat in the bottom of the sixth, but Hughes got out of the jam with a two-out pop-up to second basemen Kory Hammock.
The Tigers took their 5-4 lead into the seventh and Lintz struck out the leadoff batter, walked the second hitter and then Page got runners to second and third on a single and a throwing error by the Tigers. Lintz reared back and whiffed Codi Webb on a 2-2 hook, but balked in the tying run as the Page runner tried to steal home. A strikeout by Lintz ended the frame.
Hughes was up to the task in the seventh as he struck out two Tigers for a 1-2-3 inning of his own and the game was sent to extra innings. Hughes would leave the game after the seventh, turning in a stellar performance with seven strikeouts, five walks, and only three earned runs in his seven innings of duty.
Lintz stayed in the game and struck out two more Patriots in the top of the eighth to keep the game tied at five.
Pages escapes disaster in 8th
The Tigers looked like they were ready to send the crowd home in the bottom of the inning as they drew three consecutive walks to load the bases with none out. Page brought in Logan Adams from third base to try to put out the blazer and he came through in a big way, retiring three straight to end the inning and sending the Page faithful into a massive cheer.
Lintz was done for night, giving all he had in a great performance that saw him pitch eight innings, whiff 13 Patriots, walk two, hit two, and give up only three earned runs.
George, Reese, Lintz smell out home steal
The Tigers also brought in their third basemen, Judd Stoltz to pitch in relief and he got into trouble when Kory Hammack doubled and was moved to third on a sacrifice fly. Page tried their trickery again on the Tigers, but the coaching staff and catcher Seth Lintz smelled the attempted steal of home by Hammock and he was caught in a run-down to end the inning.
Primm blast sets table for win
The Tigers came to bat in the bottom of the inning with the intention of finishing the job and first basemen Cody Primm led off with a rope to right field for a stand-up triple. After two intentional walks by Page to load the bases, Seth Lintz walked on a full-count to end the marathon and gave the Tigers the front end of the two-day series by a score of 6-5.
"We both had a lot of chances in the game", MCHS head coach Joe George said after the game. "That was a gutsy call to try to steal home, but we could tell and told Stoltz to step off. George added, "It was big district win and we never gave up and showed some heart to stay in the game."