Tigers fall to Columbia

Wednesday, April 2, 2008
Marshall County's Andrew Thornhill throws out Columbia's Derek Armstrong at first base.

Just one day after turning in perhaps their best performance of the season against Forrest, the Marshall County Tigers came crashing back to earth Friday, as they suffered a 15-7 home loss to the Columbia Central Lions.

MCHS held a 2-1 lead through the first three innings of play, but the Lions exploded for fourteen runs over the final four frames to claim the victory and snap the Tigers' three-game winning streak.

"We just weren't ready to play mentally and made too many mistakes defensively," said Marshall County head coach Joe George. "We had some chances to score some more runs but didn't get hits in key situations."

Columbia pounded out 18 hits against four MCHS pitchers, but Marshall County also aided the Lion cause by committing a variety of miscues in the field and on the mound. The Tigers committed five errors, plunked four Columbia batters, and uncorked two wild pitches.

Designated hitter Will Howard and catcher Josh Short spearheaded the Lions' offensive attack. Howard went 3-for-4 with two doubles, three RBIs, and two runs scored, while Short had four hits, one RBI and two runs scored. Derek Armstrong, Kendall Keeton, and Rob Wales registered two hits apiece for Columbia and combined to drive in four runs.

Starting hurler Seth Lintz was the most effective pitcher to take the hill for the Tigers, registering two strikeouts and yielding just one run on three hits over three innings. Sophomore reliever Koda Watkins suffered the loss, allowing seven runs on seven hits in one plus inning of work. Andrew Thornhill and Matthew Cashion also saw time on the mound for MCHS.

Marshall County finished with nine hits to go along with four walks and five Lion errors, but stranded 11 runners on the base paths. Thornhill went 2-for-4 with a double and two RBIs to pace MCHS at the plate, while Lintz had a pair of singles and a run scored. Shaun Harwell, Zach Cross, Colton Primm, Watkins and Jack Whaley recorded one hit apiece for the Tigers.

Starting pitcher Ben South picked up the win for Columbia, giving up five runs on six hits and a walk in 4 1/3 innings.

The Lions took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning on an RBI single by Howard, before Marshall County pushed across two runs in the bottom of the third to grab a 2-1 advantage. After Whaley led off with a double and Jake Lintz was hit by a pitch, both runners moved up 90 feet on a Harwell sacrifice bunt. Cross then drove in Whaley with a RBI single before Lintz came home on an RBI ground out by Primm.

In the fourth, the Lions used three hits and an error to score a pair of runs and pull ahead 3-2, but Marshall County plated a run in the bottom half of the frame with the assistance of three Columbia fielding blunders to knot the game at 3-3.

The Lions then tallied five runs in the fifth on five hits and an error to claim an 8-3 advantage before MCHS whittled the deficit to 8-5 in the bottom of the inning on a two-run double by Thornhill.

Columbia stretched their lead to 9-5 in the sixth when David Horne scored on a Howard sacrifice fly.

After leading off the frame with a triple, the Tigers pushed across two runs in the bottom half of the frame.

Thanks to a hit, two walks, and an error to narrow the gap to 9-7.

The Lions, though, broke the game open in the seventh, as they crossed home plate six times in the inning.

Marshall County errors to build an eight-run cushion.

Columbia reliever Christian Greene then held the Tigers scoreless in the bottom of the seventh to close out the Lions' victory.