Blackburn leads stars to title game
Marshall County's Cody Blackburn has been a one-man wrecking crew in the first two games of the 15-year-old Babe Ruth District 8 Tournament, going 5-8 from the plate with three RBI's on four extra base hits inside the white lines at Jonathan D. Hollingsworth Field in Lewisburg.
None were bigger than Blackburn's two-run go ahead triple in the top of the seventh inning Friday night versus Lawrenceburg in a winner's bracket contest won by Marshall County in comeback fashion 11-7.
Marshall County earned the winner's bracket date with an opening round 9-5 win Thursday night versus Maury County.
Hayden Bailey hurled four innings, gave up four hits, but did not allow an earned run while striking out four to garner the win versus Maury County.
Ryan McKnight got the save on the hill and did some heavy damage at the dish in the contest, putting up a 2-4 night with three RBI's.
Ryan Richardson, who is working on a 4-6 performance from the plate so far in the tournament, drove home Jalen Jones with a first inning single to erase a two-run lead by Maury County and the home squad never trailed again.
Marshall County leadoff man Jesse Kilpatrick, who won the regular season batting crown in Lewisburg had two hits in the contest, scored a run, stole a base, and drove in a run.
Kilpatrick is batting .500 (4-8) thru the first two games and has stolen four bases, has been hit twice, and has made several sparkling defensive plays in the field at shortstop.
Lawrenceburg eked out a 3-2, eight-inning win over Giles County in the first round on just a single hit to stay in the winner's bracket and their luck continued into game two versus Marshall County.
The boys from Lawrence County took a 5-1 lead into the fourth inning Friday night thanks to some shoddy defense by Marshall County.
The bats that were hot the night before went silent for Marshall County on Friday as Heath Mansfield took control on the mound for Lawrence County over the first three innings.
MC finally cut the lead to 5-3 in the top of the fourth when Zack Kirby walked leading off the frame.
Jones and Ryan McDaniel banged back-to-back singles driving in Kirby and Jones scored on a Richardson fielder's choice RBI.
Marshall County handed Lawrenceburg another unearned run in the bottom of the inning thanks to two infield errors and a triple by Andrew Kelly, making it 6-3.
Kilpatrick led off the fifth with a single and stole second with one out.
McKnight moved Kilpatrick to third on a groundout before Blackburn banged an RBI single to center, making it a 6-4 ballgame.
McKnight, who came to the hill in relief of Blackburn in the second inning held Lawrenceburg scoreless in the home half of the fifth.
Lawrenceburg coughed up an unearned in the top of the sixth when Hayden McMahon raced home on a throwing error, making it 6-5.
McDaniel came to the hill in relief of McKnight in the bottom of the sixth and set down the purple and yellow clad Lawrenceburg squad 1-2-3.
Marshall County's Matt Sharp and McKnight drew back-to-back walks leading off the seventh, setting the stage for Blackburn who laced a laser into the gap in right center, scoring both runners for a 7-6 lead.
"We are a whole different team than we used to be. We used to get down, but not anymore," said Blackburn after the game.
Blackburn said about the pitch he hit for the game winner.
"I was looking for something off speed, but he threw a fastball right there and I took it the opposite way and I knew when I hit it that both runners would score," said Blackburn.
By the time the inning was finally over Marshall County's lead had swelled to 11-6 on RBI's by McDaniel, Cameron Bowers, and Bailey.
McDaniel hit Kelly leading off the bottom of the seventh and then watched him race all the way home from first on a wild pick-off throw that sailed deep off the fence into the right field foul territory.
Bailey made a nice play at first base to get the first out, peddling backwards to snare a pop-up in foul territory.
McDaniel struck out the next batter, but the ball bounced to the backstop where Blackburn hustled back and gunned down Tyler Kilburn by a step for out number two.
Hunter Dorning kept the game alive with a two-out single up the middle before a bouncer back to McDaniel secured the comeback, sending Marshall County to the winner's bracket final tonight at 8:00 p.m.