The Marshall County Tigers' early season offensive struggles continued Tuesday night, as MCHS dropped a 7-2 decision on the road to District rival Page.
After defeating Marshall County 6-4 the previous evening in Lewisburg, the Patriots jumped out to a 5-0 lead through the first two innings of play. The Tigers trimmed the deficit to 5-1 in the top of the fourth, but Page tacked on two insurance runs to open up a 7-1 advantage before coasting to the five-run victory.
With Tuesday's loss, the Tigers fell two games behind Page and Spring Hill in the District 10-AA standings and will need some help if they hope to capture their third straight regular season league championship.
MCHS came into the contest averaging a pedestrian 4.3 runs per game and once again struggled at the plate, as they mustered just five hits and two walks against the Patriots, while striking out 11 times.
"We're just not hitting the ball. We're swinging at bad pitches and looking at good pitches," said Marshall County coach Joe George. "We're just not very consistent right now."
Starting pitcher Andrew Thornhill went 2-4 with a double to lead the Tigers, while Jack Whaley and Shawn Harwell each had a hit and a RBI. Hunter Clark also added a single, a walk, and a run scored for MCHS.
Page starting hurler Garrett Gross pitched five solid innings to pick up the win, allowing just one run on three hits and two walks to go along with nine strikeouts. Chad Meitzler then came on in relief of Gross in the sixth and gave up one run on two hits in two innings of work.
Page, conversely, banged out 11 hits, but were also aided by a hit batsman and five Marshall County errors.
"This was the worst night we've had defensively. Page is a solid ball club though. We're just going to have to keep at it and see what happens," said George.
Thornhill suffered his first loss of the season on the mound, as he allowed four runs on nine hits over five innings while compiling seven strikeouts. Freshman hurler Cody Vernon then pitched the sixth and yielded one run on two hits.
Shortstop Hayden Smith spearheaded the Patriots' offensive attack, going 3-3 with a double, a RBI, and two runs scored, while Scott Lynn and Tyler White each had a pair of hits with Lynn driving in a run. Sean McComisky, Zach Schottner, and Jim Caporelli each had a hit for Page as well and combined for 4 RBI.
Neither team mustered a scoring threat in the first inning, but Page took control of the game in the bottom of the second, as they pushed across five runs with the help of five hits and two MCHS errors to grab a 5-0 lead.
The Tigers had a chance to make a dent in the deficit in the top of the fourth after Koda Watkins drew a leadoff walk and Thornhill doubled to put runners on second and third with no outs. Watkins then came home when Caporelli dropped a fly ball by Whaley to make it 5-1 with only one out, but Gross struck out the next two Marshall County batters to end the Tiger threat.
Page quickly counter punched and stretched their lead to 6-1 in the bottom of the fourth thanks to a RBI double by Lynn before opening up a 7-1 advantage in the sixth on a sacrifice fly by Caporelli.
In the seventh, MCHS trimmed the deficit to 7-2 when Clark scored from third on a Harwell groundball after reaching base on a one-out single and advancing to third on a Patriot throwing error. Meitzler though squelched the Tiger rally by retiring the next two Marshall County hitters on a strikeout and a groundout to end the game.