The Marshall County Babe Ruth 13 year old All-Stars took it to the limit Tuesday night at the Jonathan D. Hollingsworth Memorial Park, but fell just short to a determined Giles County squad 4-3.
Rage manager Danny Hollingsworth never wants to lose, but losing to his good friend and longtime Giles County Babe Ruth manager Tommy Young made the loss a little easier to swallow.
"It is bittersweet, I have been coaching 37 years and have won state championships in every division, but if we were going to lose to anyone, I would want it to be to that man over there (Young)," Hollingsworth said after the game.
Giles County jumps out to early lead, Rage plays catch-up
The top two hitters in the Giles County line-up were thorns in the side of Marshall County pitching the entire tournament and lead-off man Austin Sands and number two hitter Quenton Braden starting the engine early again.
Sands smashed a hard double to left to start the contest and Braden got on when Rage starter Brandon Bush hit him to put runners on first and second. Blake Ramsey and Sam Abernathy followed with consecutive RBI fielder's choices to give Giles County a lead that they would never surrender.
Marshall County threatened in the second inning, but Giles County starter Ramsey got out of the jam when second baseman Clay Hughes snatched a line drive shot off the bat of Cody Vernon to end the inning.
The game went to the third inning and Sands and Braden got on base again to lead-off the frame and Sands scored on error by Marshall County to make it 3-0.
The Rage came up with a run in the home half of the third as Ramsey got wild, hitting Mikey Adams, walking J.B. Reese, and then beaning Ryan Daughrity to load the sacks. Zach Brewer knocked in Adams on a 4-3 fielder's choice to cut the score to 3-1.
Giles County scored another un-earned run in the fourth to go up 4-1.
The Rage made their big push to tie the game in the bottom of the fifth when Adams walked to lead-off the inning.
Reese got on base on a fielder's choice and stole second, and Daughrity got beaned again to put runners on first and second. After another fielder's choice put runners on second and third, Brewer lined a ball up the middle to score Reese and after the Giles County shortstop threw the ball into the dugout, Daughrity was awarded home to make the score 4-3.
Giles County ace Sam Alexander finished the game on the hill for Young, and the Rage did not mount enough of a threat the last two innings. When the dust settled, Young gloriously danced in the night, winning his first state championship in 30 years of Giles County Babe Ruth baseball.
Young said after the contest, "To win against, without a doubt, one of my best friends (Hollingsworth) makes this special. I have the utmost respect for that man, Marshall County, and Marshall County baseball."
"My team was unbelievable," Young added, knowing Marshall County's history. "They would not be denied, they wanted this state championship from day one."
Hollingsworth and Young hugged after the last out and the Marshall County manager ended the post-game interview by saying, "God has a definite goal for everyone, and tonight God's goal was for Tommy Young to win the state title this year. He is devoted to Babe Ruth baseball in Giles County."